Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen seeks to clarify remarks, pledging that elections will take place ‘no matter what’



Hun Sen seeks to clarify remarks, pledging that elections will take place ‘no matter what’

Hun Sen gives a speech in Phnom Penh yesterday in which pledged the 2018 elections will go forward ‘no matter what’. Facebook
Hun Sen gives a speech in Phnom Penh yesterday in which pledged the 2018 elections will go forward ‘no matter what’. Facebook

Hun Sen seeks to clarify remarks, pledging that elections will take place ‘no matter what’

Prime Minister Hun Sen hit back yesterday at suggestions that he would consider postponing this year’s elections, saying they will go on as scheduled “no matter what happens” – an apparent effort to clarify his remarks in a speech the day before that an election cannot be held “in a chaotic country”.

“With no more explanation, I’d like to just confirm that the already-set schedule for the Senate Election on February 25, 2018 and the National Election on July 29, 2018 will not be changed,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

On Wednesday, Hun Sen said it would be difficult to hold an election amidst “chaos”, after former opposition leader Sam Rainsy said he would call for protests through the newly created Cambodia National Rescue Movement.

The group, which thus far has the support of a smattering of former opposition officials in exile, as well as overseas party members, was announced earlier this month as a means to put pressure on the government over a recent political crackdown.

Rainsy encouraged Hun Sen on Wednesday to call off the elections, claiming they lacked legitimacy with the Cambodia National Rescue Party dissolved by the Supreme Court in November and opposition leader Kem Sokha in jail facing “treason” charges.

Hun Sen singled out The Post yesterday in a speech, saying an article describing his comments should be corrected, although he did not specify what information had been incorrect.

“No matter what happens and at any cost, the election must be held,” he said in the speech, warning against radio stations and newspapers that might “twist and pollute the situation”.

“I would hope that The Post, having had a pretty long life in Cambodia, would have learned more,” he said.

The premier went on to say that Cambodia successfully held elections in the midst of political instability in 1998, a year after he wrested full control of the country from Prime Minister Prince Ranariddh in bloody factional fighting.

Hun Sen also called out Yoeurng Sotheara, a legal expert at election watchdog Comfrel, for his assertions in the article that the Prime Minister held the authority to delay elections, which he said was not the case.

“If you are not clear [on this], you should learn,” he said.

Yesterday, Sotheara said the ambiguity lay in the law itself – with the Constitution saying that “time of war or other exceptional circumstances” could lead elections to be delayed by the National Assembly after a proposal from the King.

The Law on Election of Members of the National Assemby, however, says “the date of polling shall be determined and announced by the Prime Minister” and can be postponed, though it does not specify who has the authority to do so.

“The root of the power is still the prime minister,” Sotheara said, explaining that Hun Sen’s requests to the King are invariably honoured.

According to Rainsy, the options facing the premier – conducting elections with or without the CNRP – carry a certain risk to CPP rule.

“Either organize fake elections without any real opposition and risk losing international legitimacy with far-reaching consequences, or organize real elections with the participation of the CNRP and risk losing those elections,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from