The King has signed off on another round of mass military promotions, elevating 45 officers to the rank of brigadier general, contributing to the rising total of at least 607 new generals in the last 10 months.
The slew of promotions, which were declared in the December edition of the Royal Book, also boosted 27 officers to major general and six to the position of lieutenant general.
The upper echelons of Cambodia’s armed forces are notoriously bloated, with insiders estimating last March that there were as many as 3,000 generals.
Since then, the promotion machine has continued full steam ahead, adding at least 607 more.
Political analyst Meas Nee criticised the practice of superfluous promotions, claiming it was a byproduct of nepotism and a way for the government to shore up the army’s support during escalating political tensions.
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“Today the promotion system is through close connections for people related to powerful people . . . those without good connections, they find it hard to get promotions,” Nee said.
“We have seen the pattern increasing at the same time that the political situation has escalated, and the government has announced repeatedly that people protesting are attached to a colour revolution . . . This promotion encourages [the military] to protect the current government.”
Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat defended the promotions, however, saying they were conducted properly and apolitically.
“It has nothing to do with the upcoming election, just because they reached their time to get promoted. Many police have been promoted too,” he said.