Cambodian PM denies rumors of ruling party infighting
The recent replacement of Royal Cambodian Arms Forces' (RCAF) commander-in-chief was not indicative of any leadership infighting of the major ruling party of the kingdom, said national media on Saturday.
Internal conflict of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) had nothing to do with the Jan. 22 decision to oust long-serving Ke Kim Yan, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily quoted Prime Minister Hun Sen as saying.
Speaking to reporters here on Friday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the premier denied that there was any conflict, adding that whether RCAF commander-in- chief had been removed or not, CPP would be free of conflict, Xinhua reported.
"They say this removal was just to beef up Hun Sen's forces and weaken (CPP President and Senate President) Chea Sim's force. I would like to assert that, if we hadn't removed Ke Kim Yan, there would still be no problem inside CPP," he said.
"I would like to clarify things with the opposition who have endlessly commented that I wouldn't dare to touch the important army commanders, but when I removed him, you commented that it was the result of internal conflict of CPP," he said.
"I would like to assert that CPP doesn't have such a tradition of conflict on this issue, because this is the right of the premier to manage and control the military, police and other public administration," he said, adding that the removal aimed at "speeding reform" within the armed forces.
As the background of its reports, the Cambodia Daily said that "many have seen the abrupt removal of Ke Kim Yan as indicative of infighting within the leadership of the ruling party, with many rumors circulating about a behind-the-scenes battle between Hun Sen and Chea Sim."