Cambodian People's Party (CPP) honorary president Heng Samrin said the party will not use its upcoming congress to discuss who its prime ministerial candidate will be at the national elections in 2008.
Samrin's comments came after prime minister Hun Sen announced at a canal inauguration in Kandal province on January 8 that he would stand again for PM at the next elections.
The following day, Heng Samrin said that leadership positions would be decided by the party, not by Hun Sen.
Samrin said that the issue of choosing the CPP's candidate for PM would be discussed closer to the 2008 viote, but said that there was no competition within the CPP over who would be its nominee for the role.
No official date has been set for the CPP congress but a source said it was scheduled for January 28 and 29.
The candidate needs the support of the 21 members of the Standing Committee and then a majority of the party's 147 Central Committee members.
"If he (Hun Sen) still has enough energy to maintain the position of prime minister, he remains to continue his position which it is up to the party will give to him," said Samrin.
He said that the agenda of the upcoming party congress was to assess the party's general performance during 2004 and to draw up a future political strategy.
Hun Sen, who first became prime minister in 1985, has recently nicknamed the current coalition the "Riddh-i-Sen Government", combining his name with that of Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
Prince Ranariddh said on December 30 last year that he and Hun Sen had discussed the formation of a giant political party to ensure long term political sustainability.
Ly Touch, deputy secretary general of Funcinpec, said his party was scheduled to hold its congress on March 19-21, to launch reforms aimed at promoting internal democracy within the party.
Eng Chhay Eang, secretary general of the Sam Rainsy Party said that the opposition also planned to hold a congress by the end of March.
"We will discuss the reform of our [political] mechanisms and promote democracy in order to bring power to the people and serve for the needs of the people - if possible winning the 2008 elections," Eang said.