Prime Minister Hun Sen announced yesterday that at least one element of the 2013 National Assembly election is a foregone conclusion – he will still be in charge when it’s over.
Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen casts his vote on Sunday in Phnom Penh for the national senate election. The Prime Minister is confident of the outcome.
Speaking only three days after his party won control of the Senate for the third time in a row, the premier said yesterday that there is no chance he will be displaced as prime minister, given the fact that he is the only candidate.
“Don’t worry; the opposition party has no possibility of breaking [the Cambodian Peoples Party],” he told a crowd at a ground-breaking ceremony inaugurating national road 76 in Ratanakkiri.
“At that time, who will be a Minister of Public Works? [We] don’t know yet, but the only candidate for prime minister is me.”
The premier also expressed his thanks to 797 members of Funcinpec, the Norodom Rannaridh Party and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, who voted for the CPP at Sunday’s Senate election, including 179 councillors from the SRP.
From Paris, where he lives in self-imposed exile following a spate of criminal convictions in Cambodia, the eponymous party leader Sam Rainsy said the prime minister risked damaging international perceptions of his legitimacy by making such statements.
“So, Hun Sen, in Cambodia, the results of the election are predetermined. If it is a foregone conclusion, there is no need to organise elections, and it would be silly to pretend Cambodia is a democracy then,” he said.
The opposition leader said he would rather congratulate the 2,503 SRP councillors who voted on party lines, resisting attempts by the CPP to buy their votes – which had succeeded in only a small number of cases.
Last week, CPP member Cheam Pe A was fined US$1,230 by the Battambang Provincial Election Committee after he was taped trying to buy the Senate vote of an SRP councillor.
Preliminary results released on Sunday showed that the CPP had extended its existing Senate majority by one, winning 46 of 57 contested seats, while the SRP also increased its standing from two to 11 seats.
The four remaining seats in the Senate are appointees.