Accessibility links

Cambodian Groups Continue Push for PM Term Limits

  • Heng Reaksmey

A group of Cambodian NGOs, students and others say they plan to submit a request to the country's National Assembly this week to consider term limits for the position of prime minister.

Supporters of the initiative say the absence of such limits leads to a potential “dictatorship.”

Koul Panha, executive director of the election watchdog Comfrel, said he has asked former Cambodian Prime Ministers Norodom Ranarridh, Ung Huot and Pen Sovann for their support in the initiative.

“We already got the verbal support from one of the former prime ministers. The other two have been quoted in news reports saying they support a two term limit. So we are only waiting to hear from Prime Minister Hun Sen. I think this will push the 123 members of parliament to consider the term limit,” he said.

Pen Sovann, who was premier in the 1980s, told reporters Wednesday he welcomed the initiative and would deliver a petition to the National Assembly this week. He said the initiative calls for a term limit of 10 years, to avoid “nepotism and corruption."

“I agree to this term limit. Serving too many terms will lead to dictatorship, corruption, and nepotism. The country won’t be able to develop,” he said.

Previous attempts to push for term limits have failed during Prime Minister Hun Sen's nearly three decades in power.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan says he does not support the idea, because the prime minister is selected by the winning party in an open election.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.