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Sacked General Approved as Drug Czar

A special session of the National Assembly on Thursday approved the promotion of sacked army commander Ke Kim Yan to become Cambodia’s tenth deputy prime minister.

Ke Kim Yan was fired from his position as commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in January, for pursuing outside business interests. As deputy prime minister, he will be in charge of the country’s counter-drug authority.

Ke Kim Yan and Prime Minister Hun Sen shook hands and smiled at each other, prior to Hun Sen’s delivery of a speech in support of the promotion.

“According to the needs of the government and to promote and improve the implementation of the government’s political program more effectively,” Hun Sen told lawmakers, “I would like to present to the National Assembly the newest 10 members of the government for the National Assembly’s vote of confidence.”

All 10 members were experienced, able and responsible, he said.

The National Assembly also approved for promotion one senior minister and eight secretaries of state.

Twenty-six members of the Sam Rainsy Party and three members of the Human Rights Party did not participate in the special session.

“The appointment of the new cabinet members is not necessary,” SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Thursday.

“We didn’t participate in this meeting because we want to save our time to find recommendations to the government to solve the economic crisis, unemployment of garment workers, and the lack of sale of agricultural products,” he said. “This is better than voting to approve new cabinet members, which increase more and more the size of the government.”