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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen requests ousted general appointed deputy PM: official

Hun Sen requests ousted general appointed deputy PM: official

NEARLY two months after his removal as commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, General Ke Kim Yan has been tipped to become a deputy prime minister, a government official said,  although mystery surrounds the nature and timing of the new appointment.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith told the Post by phone Tuesday that Prime Minister Hun Sen had "requested the appointment of Ke Kim Yan as deputy prime minister" and was "awaiting the approval of the National Assembly".

He said also that he hoped the appointment would put to bed "speculations" about a rift between Hun Sen and Ke Kim Yan.

"What Ke Kim Yan said is that he never lost confidence in his boss, meaning Hun Sen," Khieu Kanharith clarified later via email.

Lack of information

But Ke Kim Yan, who has been jobless since losing his post back in January to his former deputy, General Pol Saroeun, in what officials have described as a military "reshuffle", told the Post that he had "not been informed" of the new appointment and could not confirm whether it was true.

Likewise, Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said he had heard the news but could confirm only that it "might" be true.

Nguon Nhel, deputy president of the National Assembly, said similarly that he had not yet received a request from the government for Ke Kim Yan's promotion but that if and when the request came, the National Assembly's permanent committee members would hold a meeting to decide on the issue.

 "If there is a request, the permanent committee members will have to hold an extraordinary session because parliamentarians are on vacation until the end of March," he said.

But an official at the Council of Ministers who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was preparing Ke Kim Yan's photos to put in a photo album of government leaders.

"We know he is being promoted to the post of deputy prime minister, so that's why we need to select his photos to put in the album," the official said.

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