PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Newly appointed Samdechs, Samdech Say Chhum and Samdech Sar Kheng, will be elected as Co Vice Presidents of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party at its 38th Congress coming Saturday.
In addition, Say Chhum will retain the post of Secretary General of the Party. He was recently elected as President of the Senate to replace the late Samdech Chea Sim.
The Congress will also elect Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister as Party President and thus, for the first time in more than 2 decades, the Prime Minister will head the Executive and the Party.
The Congress will be held the day after Chea Sim’s cremation. CPP spokesman Chhim Phalvirun said that besides selecting the party’s two top officials, the central committee will assess the party’s governance over the past five months and set objectives for the next six months.
PM Certain To Become CPP President
The presidential post will go to the party’s current vice president, Prime Minister Hun Sen. “The candidate to replace Samdech Chea Sim is Samdech Hun Sen,” Mr. Phalvirun said, declining to name the candidate who will replace Hun Sen as vice president.
Mr. Hun Sen announced in late April that when Chea Sim passed away he would become the party’s president.
There is already a candidate for the post of president of the CCP, he said, adding that the party was only waiting for the vote. He made the comments at the opening of a palm oil plant in Preah Sihanouk province. Even though he was not president of the party he was already leading it, he said.
CPP sources say the candidate to be the new vice president is a long-serving member and part of the elite. Only members of its permanent central committee are eligible for the post, Mr. Phalvirun said. “Those who have a background of struggling hard to improve the country, and people that have led and lived with the party for a long time, are in favorable positions when considering candidates for this position,” he said.
Political analyst Sok Touch said Interior Minister Sar Kheng is most likely to be named the party’s next vice president.
“This position will go to Mr. Sar Kheng to balance power in the party,” he said. Say Chhum is now president of the senate, and Sar Kheng has family links with Chea Sim, Mr. Sok added.
The CPP will likely move swiftly after Saturday’s congress, Mr. Sok added. “The party has not advanced as far as it might in recent years due to the ill health of Chea Sim,” he said.
In February, the CPP more than doubled the number of members on its central committee, from 268 to 545, after it wrapped up a three day extraordinary congress on Diamond Island. The new members are primarily senior officers in the military and the police.
Chea Sim, passed away at the age of 82 on June 8. His cremation will take place at Wat Botum on June 19.