Sar Kheng Acting CPP President in Absence of PM

Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who was on Saturday named one of two vice presidents of the CPP, will serve as acting president of the ruling party and acting premier when Prime Minister Hun Sen is absent from the country, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said Monday.

Following the death of long-serving CPP President Chea Sim on June 8, the ruling party on Saturday elected Mr. Hun Sen—the party’s erstwhile vice president—as its new leader and replaced him in the vice presidency with both Mr. Kheng and new Senate President Say Chhum.

“Samdech president [Mr. Hun Sen] gave the rights to Samdech Sar Kheng to become the acting prime minister and also the acting president of the party,” Mr. Eysan said, noting that Mr. Hun Sen left for Burma on Monday.

Mr. Kheng, a senior deputy prime minister, has long served as acting prime minister in Mr. Hun Sen’s absence.

Mr. Eysan also confirmed that Mr. Chhum, who previously served as the CPP’s secretary-general, would continue in the position despite also assuming the vice presidency.

“Samdech Say Chhum has two positions: as the vice president and head of the on-duty committee,” he said, explaining that the committee serves as the CPP’s general secretariat and is composed of an elite nine-member subset of the party’s 34-member standing committee, and manages the day-to-day decisions.

“The role of the on-duty committee, or the secretariat general, is to settle the daily work,” Mr. Eysan said. “For the small issues, they are decided by the head of the on-duty committee. For big work, it’s decided by all nine members.

According to the CPP website, the “on-duty committee” comprises Mr. Chhum, government ministers Men Sam An and Im Chhun Lim, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun, Supreme Court President Dith Munthy and CPP senators Sim Ka, Nay Pena, Bou Thang and Tep Ngorn.

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