Chea Sim's health has improved recently after taking a turn for the worse
earlier this month, said a source close to the 73-year-old president of the
Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the Senate.
Long an influential player in local politics, Chea Sim's ailing health is hindering his job performance.
"Now, his health has
recovered a lot since he has been taking medicine prescribed by his doctors, but
he cannot sit for a long time because of his back," said the source on condition
of anonymity April 21.
The source said that Chea Sim has chronic heart
and back problems, as well as a tumor in his neck.
Chea Sim was reported
to be suffering from fainting spells as a result of the tumor, but this could
not be confirmed by official party sources.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh,
president of the National Assembly, made fresh reference to the ailing CPP
leader on April 21.
"Samdech Chea Sim's health is also not good, he has
heart problems, everybody is concerned about losing the highest dignified
leadership," Ranariddh said.
Chea Sim was forced to miss several
high-level delegations during April, including meeting the prime minister of
Myanmar, Lieutenant General Soe Win, and the secretary general of the Communist
Party of Vietnam, Nong Duc Manh
Um Sarith, general secretary of the
Senate, said that Chea Sim was scheduled to return to work this month but would
continue regular medical checkups.
The ill health of the ruling party
president has increased speculation about Chea Sim's successor.
Samrin, the honorary CPP chairman, told reporters outside the National Assembly
on April 7 that only he or Prime Minister Hun Sen could fill the position.
"I deserve it, if the members of the Standing Committee support me. And
I used to work [as head of state] for ten years," Samrin said.
comments surprised some observers, as they ignored the prospect of another
likely candidate, deputy prime minister Sar Kheng, stepping into the CPP's top
Traditionally, Heng Samrin's small but loyal faction sides against
Hun Sen's supporters within party debates, often aligning with backers of Chea
Sim and Sar Kheng, said one well-connected political observer.