The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on Thursday revamped its organisational structure and elected a further seven people to the Permanent Committee of its Central Committee to add to the existing 30 members.
The vote came on the final day of the party’s 41st Congress of the Central Committee, which was held at the capital’s Diamond Island Exhibition Centre.
According to a Congress statement, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara; Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhonn; and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth were elected to the Permanent Committee.
The ministers were joined by security force heads Vong Pisen, the Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF); Sao Sokha, the Deputy General Commander of the RCAF and Commander of the National Military Police; Ith Sarath, the deputy commander of the RCAF and its joint chief of staff; and Hun Manet, the Deputy Commander of the RCAF and the commander of its infantry unit.
Senior party member Ek Sam Ol was elected as president of the Monitoring Committee to replace his late predecessor Ney Pena.
The congress, which was presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is also CPP president, and CPP honorary president and National Assembly president Heng Samrin, was attended by 3,164 party members.
The statement said: “The [recent national] election has clearly shown that the people firmly support the good progress of democracy in Cambodia. They enjoy freedom and support the [CPP] leadership on the path of peace, development and reforms.”
According to some CPP members who attended the congress but who asked to remain anonymous, Prime Minister Hun Sen also took the occasion to warn his ministers of a cabinet reshuffle in 2020 if they fail to reach out to the people and serve them to the best of their ability.
Analyst Meas Nee said the election results showed that the CPP was maintaining and strengthening its structure by promoting senior party figures and their relatives.
However, CPP spokesman groundless criticism and analysis. Hun Manet was elected through an election, which is in accordance with the democratic [process] of the party.
“Hun Manet is a dignitary whose role is to defend the nation, and he has the task of managing the army . . . In his capacity as a leader who has knowledge and ability, [he will] guarantee the peace and stability of Cambodia.”
Chhim Phal Virun, another CPP spokesman, said the ruling party is run on democratic principles and so ultimately bore responsibility for those who voted it into power.
“The party governs the country via winning elections, so the CPP receives its support from those who hold the vote and are the owners of power through [the democratic process]. Therefore the party must bear responsibility for the [people’s wellbeing]."
He added: “Analysis is a person’s right and [they are allowed] freedom of expression, but the CPP stands by the principle that is responsible for the nation. We adhere to a major principle – keep the experienced people; add new blood.”
‘Upholding patriotic spirit’
Phal Virun said: “The Congress . . . assessed the tasks of the party [in] leading the government for the past year. We looked at what we have achieved . . . and what we should improve on.
The CPP statement said: “The Congress expresses profound respect and gratitude to patriots in every corner of the Kingdom and every stratum of society for having strong confidence in the CPP through their overwhelming votes in support of the party to continue leading the country in the next term of government."
“Judging by the results of the [national] elections, it has been clearly shown that people firmly support the process of democracy, [and enjoy] rights and freedoms in Cambodia. They support the CPP leadership on the path of peace, development and the continuing deep state reforms in every sector”
It was revealed the Congress had discussed and set plans for district elections next year.
“[The CPP] upholds the patriotic spirit [and vows to] resolutely defend the Kingdom’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity against foreign interference."
“[It stands up] to the slandering of Cambodia’s political righteousness and [bows] to no external pressure. [The party] maintains peace, security, political stability, social order and safety, while resolutely upholding the Constitution,” the statement said.
It continued that the CPP “aims to further strengthen and promote the traditional bonds of friendship and fruitful cooperation between Cambodia and Laos, and Cambodia and Vietnam. [It will spare no] effort to achieve settlements to the remaining border issues to build . . . firm and long-term friendships, peace, stability and cooperation”.
The Congress also reviewed the success of the implementation of government reforms, the core of the government’s “Rectangular Strategy”, which through to this year has made progress in modernising systems of governance through combating corruption, judicial and public administration reforms, as well as those to the armed forces and other sectors.
The CPP noted with pride the achievements of 7.3 per cent economic growth this year and a drop in the poverty rate by nine per cent,” the statement said.