Twenty-one staffers join Sokha team

Twenty-one staffers join Sokha team

A royal decree has assigned 21 officials to Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha to advise and assist him in his role as National Assembly vice president.

Among those given positions are 14 personal advisers – of which two will rank as ministers and 12 as secretaries of state – while seven will be assigned as personal assistants.

Those named as personal advisors include Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community president Thach Setha and CNRP lawyer Choung Choungy.

Choungy said: “I’m still a lawyer to CNRP. My role as an advisor will include local politics, civil society relations and election affairs . . . We receive salary but I don’t how much I would get from this title.”

The royal decree appointing the officials – signed by acting head of state Chea Sim - came into effect on September 8.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said he could not understand why Sokha needed 21 advisers.

He said that the CNRP and the National Assembly commission heads had a greater need for policy advice, adding that the appointments looked like patronage.

“This seems very similar to the way the [Cambodian People’s Party] operates,” he said. “I’m not very happy seeing the way politics are being played out now.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said because the advisers were appointed to the vice president personally they were not a matter for the party and he could not comment.

Sokha could not be immediately reached.

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