Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has largely avoided the campaign trail since 1998, vowed yesterday to visit “many provinces” come next year’s national elections, a pledge that came just a day after he said he would make a rare appearance at the close of this year’s commune election campaign period.
The premier, who is also president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, announced yesterday he would join CPP supporters in the back of an open-air truck at a rally in Phnom Penh on June 2, the last day of campaigning before the June 4 commune ballot.
“Uncle will be in the truck the same as our CPP members,” Hun Sen posted on Facebook, referring to himself. “For the 2018 election, uncle will go to many provinces, including Siem Reap,” he added.
The premier initially made the announcement in response to a supporter on Facebook who requested he visit Siem Reap.
Hun Sen has previously kept a low profile during election campaigns. In 1998, while visiting CPP supporters in Kandal ahead of the election, the premier insisted he was not politicking, saying “no campaigning”, in English, to reporters there.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said Hun Sen would play a more prominent campaign role now that he is CPP president following the death of former President Chea Sim in 2015. “It is a great honour that Samdech Hun Sen joins the rally,” he said.