July 16, 2017 7:04 pm JST

Cambodian PM rejects law providing immunity after leaving office

PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen rejected Saturday a proposed law guaranteeing him blanket immunity from prosecution after leaving office.

In an interview with Fresh News, Hun Sen, the longest serving leader in Asia, dismissed the proposal as a ruse designed to make Cambodian voters think he was about to lose power, and had reason to fear prosecution for things done during his 32 years as prime minister.

Cambodia will hold a national election next year.

Referring to the proposal from Leu Laysreng, a former senior official of the royalist Funcinpec Party and a former deputy prime minister, Hun Sen dismissed it as a "serious insult" to his ruling Cambodian People's Party.

"That is a serious insult to the CPP, as it may show that the CPP is about to lose (the election) and the opposition party is about to seize victory," the premier said.

"The proposal is a wicked trick for the public to mistakenly think that the current prime minister has been making serious mistakes and that is why he wants to have such a law," Hun Sen added.

Leu Laysreng sent separate letters dated July 15, 2017 to CPP president Hun Sen, and to Kem Sokha, president of opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, proposing a law be enacted guaranteeing immunity from prosecution to any Cambodian prime ministers after losing power.

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