PHNOM PENH, March 5 KYODO
Cambodia's recently sacked top military leader Gen. Ke Kim Yan will be made a deputy prime minister and oversee the operations to counter drug trafficking, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday. The general, a loyalist of Cambodian People's Party President Chea Sim, was sacked in January as military commander-in-chief, a position in which he had served for 10 years, and replaced by Hun Sen's close ally Gen. Pol Saroeun in a surprise move that prompted rumors of a rift in the ruling party. Hun Sen had earlier said the removal of Ke Kim Yan was merely part of military reforms, though officials later suggested the general had been sacked for using his position to profit from shady land deals, something said to be rife in the military. There was also speculation that it might have had something to do with the general's performance during Cambodia 's military standoff with Thailand along the disputed border last year. But some analysts saw the move as Hun Sen consolidating his grip on power. The CPP is widely believed to have two main factions, one comprised of Hun Sen's loyalists and the other one of loyalists of Chea Sim, who doubles as party president and Senate chairman. According to veteran political analyst Chea Vanath, the naming of Ke Kim Yan to another position of power was likely done to ensure unity in the CPP. Once Ke Kim Yan's appointment is approved by parliament, the number of deputy prime ministers in the government formed after last July's general election will reach 10.
KyodoMarch 05, 2009