Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said he is contemplating an amendment to the constitution concerning an unexpected death of a prime minister.
Meeting with thousands of garment workers in Koh Kong province yesterday, Mr Hun Sen voiced his concern regarding when a prime minister position stays vacant due to an unforeseen death, noting that the Council of Ministers will also be automatically dissolved.
Mr Hun Sen said he is unclear if he will request for an amendment to the constitution.
“I am not worried if anyone would poison me, until there is a terrorist who wishes to kill me,” he said. “I could not imagine what would happen [if I died]. I am now thinking if I should or should not request for an amendment to the constitution.”
Currently, if Mr Hun Sen were to die unexpectedly, the government would be dissolved because there is no mechanism in place for an acting prime minister to be appointed.
Mr Hun Sen also warned all ministers not to pray for his death, saying that they will also lose their positions when the Council of Ministers is dissolved.
“Any minister who wishes for a prime minister to die, this means that he desires to give up his position,” he said. “[You all] must be clear about this part as stipulated in the constitution.”
Mr Hun Sen added that a premier is eligible to appoint an acting prime minister for a while when he is on missions overseas, but when it comes to an unexpected death, no one else could appoint an acting premier.
Uth Chhorn, a member and spokesman of Constitutional Council of Cambodia, said that the CCC would consider an amendment once there is a request from the government.
“The council requires a request from the government in order to consider any amendment. Personally, I could not comment,” Mr Chhorn said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said it is good that Mr Hun Sen is considering closing that particular gap of the Kingdom’s constitution to ensure an uninterrupted government upon the sudden death of a premier.
“But his initiative at this particular juncture could be grist for the mill of speculation about his own sudden death, which is not good for the stability of the country,” Mr Mong Hay said. “His cabinet should commission a group of constitutional experts to study this particular lacuna of the constitution and propose an amendment to close it.”