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Hun Sen Warns Opposition Lawmaker To Curb Government Criticism

Prime minister Hun Sen speaks at Belty University.
Prime minister Hun Sen speaks at Belty University.

Tension is already starting to resurface between opposition lawmakers and the ruling party, despite a political deal in July.

Prime Minister Hun Sen is threatening to remove Kem Sokha, the vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, from his position as vice president of the National Assembly, if he continues to publicly criticize the government.

Kem Sokha told supporters in speeches recently that in his role at the National Assembly, he hopes to unseat corrupt government ministers.

That prompted a stern warning from Hun Sen, who said the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has the majority in the Assembly and can remove Kem Sokha from his position.

Political analyst Kem Ley said the verbal attacks between the two sides could hurt a political agreement they made in July, one that brought the opposition back to the Assembly and ended a nearly yearlong political deadlock.

Kem Sokha told VOA Khmer such threats will not stop the opposition from criticizing corrupt government officials.

“Last month, Hun said he wanted the opposition to clean the dirt off his government officials, but now when we start to make reforms, why does he protest them?” Kem Sokha said. “It means Hun Sen does not want to see Cambodia developing as a country.”