Prime Minister Hun Sen has slammed political analysts, arguing they should learn about the role of the Constitutional Council before giving him advice.
Speaking during a visit to the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng province yesterday, Mr Hun Sen said Sunday was the 24th anniversary of the constitution, so analysts should educate themselves about the document.
“Analysts need a clear understanding of the facts. They have never served as prime minister. Before giving advice to me, they should have experience of being prime minister and attending meetings at the National Assembly,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen added that some analysts regard themselves as legal experts and attempt to make statements about whether or not his actions are constitutional.
However, he said the Constitutional Council is the only body that has the right to interpret the law.
A number of analysts recently criticised the Prime Minister for issuing a government statement about ongoing diplomatic tensions with the US without first seeking approval from the National Assembly.
Mr Hun Sen argued there was no need for the assembly to approve the statement under the constitution.
Addressing the analysts, he said: “Your ability is not equal to that of my child. You don’t want to play with Hun Sen. You can play with your choice of my three sons.”
Prominent political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the Prime Minister is free to give his opinions.
“As an analyst, I base what I say on facts. The Prime Minister says what he says because he is in power,” he added.
Cambodia’s uneasy relationship with the US has been deteriorating this month, amid the arrest of opposition CNRP leader Kem Sokha, who is accused of conspiring with America to topple the government.
The US has issued a visa ban on Foreign Ministry officials as part of a row over repatriation of Cambodians with criminal records, as well as issuing a travel warning for Cambodia one day after Ambassador William Heidt called for Mr Sokha’s release.
The travel warning says: “Recent developments, including the arrest of a political figure, the expulsion of an American NGO and its foreign staff, and anti-American rhetoric by officials, may raise the overall tensions in the country.”
Mr Hun Sen has accused America of meddling in Cambodian affairs and last week called on Mr Heidt to clarify why the travel warning was issued, as well as explain his country’s involvement with Mr Sokha.