The son of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Hun Manith, seemed to revel in a “leaked” letter circulated yesterday in which Sam Rainsy, ex-leader of the opposition, purportedly suggested his wife take his place at the helm of the CNRP rather than his deputy.
The letter, bearing Rainsy’s signature, was swiftly denounced as a fraud by Rainsy and other CNRP members after it appeared on Fresh News – a media outlet often used to disseminate government announcements.
If true, the contents of the letter – which suggests CNRP lawmaker Tioulong Saumura, Rainsy’s wife, assume leadership – would have served as a stinging rebuke to party deputy president Kem Sokha, whose alliance with Rainsy has at times proved tenuous, a fact Manith played up in a post on his Facebook page.
“Is Kem Sokha not good enough for the job? . . . Does Sam Rainsy not trusting his Deputy to become Head of the CNRP?” he asked rhetorically.
Sokha was officially confirmed as the party’s interim leader yesterday. But even after denials from party officials, Fresh News insisted the letter was authentic, saying it “was leaked from the internal CNRP last night and the media published it, but on Sunday morning, Mr Yim Sovann . . . came out and denied” it.
Meanwhile, Manith, head of the Defence Ministry’s intelligence unit, took to Facebook to opine that after the letter’s dissemination, “it makes sense to just deny it in order to protect oneself”.
Ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said Manith was free to “attack” the CNRP – despite being a high-ranking member of the Kingdom’s ostensibly neutral armed forces as it was “his private business”.
Rainsy, meanwhile, suggested the “leak” was politically motivated: “It should not be hard to work out who was behind it.”