Thu, Sep 07, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Hun Sen to run twice more

AP, PHNOM PENH

A garment worker kisses Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during a ceremony at a factory compound in Phnom Penh yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday vowed to continue leading his nation for another 10 years, days after the arrest of his leading opponent.

Speaking to some 10,000 garment factory workers on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said he has decided to run for another two terms.

After that, the 64-year-old said, he would think about leaving office.

“Before I was very hesitant of when I shall leave office, but after witnessing the treasonous acts of the opposition leader in recent days, I have decided to continue my job for another 10 years,” Hun Sen said.

In power for 32 years, Hun Sen is already the world’s longest-serving prime minister and among the world’s longest-serving leaders.

“May I ask all the foreigners, please don not be jealous of me that I have become the world’s longest-serving prime minister,” he said.

After the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) mounted a strong challenge in 2013, Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party have sought to stifle dissent and weaken challengers ahead of elections in July next year.

His party has often been accused of using violence or threats against opponents, but in recent years has stalked its foes mostly in the courts.

Legal threats forced Sam Rainsy to resign as CNRP president this year; he now lives in exile.

Cambodian authorities on Sunday arrested Rainsy’s successor, Kem Sokha. On Tuesday, he was formally charged with treason for allegedly conspiring with the US to topple the government. Kem could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The move sharply escalated political tensions and raises questions over whether the upcoming elections could be free or fair.

The CNRP said the treason allegations were false and politically motivated.

Hun Sen yesterday urged the factory workers he addressed to vote for him next year, promising that he would give them better jobs and health care.

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