Opposition president Kem Sokha assured voters that all military members would maintain their rank should the CNRP take power in the 2018 national elections, but added the caveat that they would be barred from joining any political party.
Speaking at a rally in Kratie province today, Sokha said members of the military must remain neutral, and also promised to raise their salaries.
“They said that if the Cambodia National Rescue Party wins we will remove civil servants, the armed forces. Don’t believe that; we’re not making a revolution,” Sokha said.
“There will only be an increase of salaries and a requirement that civil servants from the armed forces serve the nation, serve the people,” Sokha added.
A spokesman for the CPP could not be reached yesterday, but Chhum Socheat, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said Sokha’s statements were a political trick.
“Our military nowadays is neutral before the law. In our role we are neutral. We just defend the constitution and defend the government that is elected,” Socheat said.
Earlier this month, however, Defence Minister Tea Banh vowed that if opposition supporters protested the results of the June 4 commune elections, he would beat them “until their teeth come out”.