Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that he would continue to serve as premier for as long as he is popularly elected, rejecting calls for term limits that he said had come from the opposition.
The 58-year-old premier, who has boasted that he will serve until he is 90, said opposition leaders could not object to his rule in view of his popular mandate.
“Do not complain. As long as people vote for me, I will still be [Prime Minister]. If I lost an election, I would give up power and support that government, but until you win you must do it,” Hun Sen said, speaking at a school opening in the capital’s Sen Sok district. “The people have allowed me to lead until [the next election in] 2013.”
Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha argued, however, that term limits were sorely needed in Cambodian politics.
“We have seen that when we let one person lead for a long time, it increases partisanship and creates more and more corruption,” he said.
Also yesterday, Hun Sen congratulated Funcinpec’s Nhek Bun Chhay, who was named executive president of the party this week.
“I will not abandon my partner in the coalition government, but Nhek Bun Chhay maybe will not compete for the position of Prime Minister,” Hun Sen said. “It looks impossible.”