Hun Sen confirms elections on schedule “no matter what happens”

  • Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen walks into the National Assembly meeting in Phnom Penh on March 19, 2015. Cambodian MPs approved two controversial election laws on March 19 which were condemned by rights groups as undemocratic for including restrictive provisions such as banning NGOs from criticising parties during election campaigns. AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY

In an apparent retraction of his remark made on Wednesday (Jan 17) that an election cannot be held in a chaotic country, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed that this year’s elections would be held on schedule “no matter what happens”, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Saturday.

“With no more explanation, I’d like to confirm that the already-set schedule for the Senate Election on February 25 and the National Election on July 29 will not be changed,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Friday (Jan 19).

On Wednesday, Hun Sen said it would be difficult to hold an election amidst chaos.

His remark was in response to a statement by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy that he would call for protests through the newly-created Cambodia National Rescue Movement.

Hun Sen singled out the Phnom Penh Post yesterday, saying an article describing his comments should be corrected although he did not specify what information had been incorrect.

“No matter what happens and at any cost, the elections must be held,” he said as he warned radio stations and newspapers that might twist and pollute the situation.

Hun Sen said Cambodia successfully held elections in the midst of political instability in 1998, a year after he wrested full control of the country from Prime Minister Prince Ranariddh in bloody factional fighting.