Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday responded to two Facebook posts made by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, including one post calling for an internal CPP coup to oust Mr Hun Sen as party president.
Earlier this month, Mr Rainsy on Facebook said Cambodians should draw inspiration from Algerians who forced their leader to step down.
“The Cambodian people must force dictator Hun Sen to step down in 2019, as the Algerian people did to force dictator Bouteflika out just a few days ago,” he said. “The will of the people was achieved after the Algerian army stopped supporting the dictator and acted in the interest of the public.”
In a second post, Mr Rainsy called on deputy CPP president Sar Kheng to stage a coup against Mr Hun Sen, noting that the move would be supported by CNRP activists.
“Between the two rivals, Hun Sen and Sar Kheng, who will strike first?” he said. “The CNRP fully support Sar Kheng if he strikes first in order to get rid of dictator and traitor Hun Sen.”
Mr Hun Sen, during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Border Administration building in Banteay Meanchey province yesterday, said that toppling him through a coup is “impossible”.
“He told Samdech Sar Kheng to push me out of power, please don’t respond to the stupid man’s request,” he said. “If a deputy prime minister topples a prime minister, it is a coup. Why would you tell him to do that? Take over for who? For you? Do you think Samdech Sar Kheng is ignorant?”
Mr Hun Sen said Mr Kheng, who is also Interior Minister, should remain silent and do not comply with Mr Rainsy’s post.
“Samdech Sar Kheng, please do not respond to him because we already have internal unity,” he said. “An internal party coup is impossible.”
“Please don’t react,” Mr Hun Sen added. “If a dog bites our leg, do not bite the dog in return – they are like animals.”
Mr Hun Sen warned that a coup could result in a civil war, similar to the one that followed the ousting of then Prince Norodom Sihanouk from power in the 1970s by Marshal Lon Nol.
“If a coup happens, how will our country be?” he said. “It is clear that our country will enter a civil war.”
“Please don’t hope for longer peace,” Mr Hun Sen added.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said the call made by the former CNRP president has failed.
“It is not possible – we will not respond to the call,” Mr Siphan said.
Last year, Mr Rainsy, who is currently in exile, said that he will return to Cambodia this year. His supporters announced that they were raising $300,000 for Mr Rainsy’s return.
Last week, Mr Rainsy reiterated his message and told his supporters in South Korea that migrant workers should return with him in order to “liberate democracy” in the Kingdom.
Mr Hun Sen yesterday said he will wait to see Mr Rainsy return to Cambodia. He said that Mr Rainsy will face arrest over various offences.
He then told the authorities to arrest any opposition activists who attempt to cause chaos in the country.
“He called people to come with him, I am waiting for you to come,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Even Pol Pot did not defeat me, yet you want to arrest me. It is not possible – you wrongly think.”
“Let him get lost. If they go against our strategy, they will lose,” he added.
Sok Touch, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, previously said that Mr Rainsy had numerous times in the past promised to return to the Kingdom, but never did.
“I am guessing he won’t return,” Mr Touch said. “If he wants to return, he should have returned last year during the election because people would have rallied for him.”