Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed he would refer to political rival Sam Rainsy only as “a dog” from now on.
Speaking to hundreds of students at a graduation ceremony this morning on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich island, the prime minister once again veered off into a political tirade reacting to Rainy’s latest Facebook insult.
“I tell you! From today onward I will call you a ‘dog.’ A dog. The son of a traitor,” Hun Sen said, to a round of applause.
“You know how to curse at me, and I also know how to curse at you.”
Hun Sen continued, from his podium on stage, to rebuke Rainsy’s frequent Facebook missives in which the former opposition leader living in exile in Paris hopes that someone in Cambodia would rise up against the long-time leader.
“No! You! A people’s movement? You! The armed forces moving against the government? What is this! If Hun Sen were an ordinary citizen, that would be another matter, but [Hun Sen] is leading a state,” he said to the gathered students.
Former CNRP official Meach Sovannara suggested that Hun Sen’s words may not be the ideal morsels of wisdom to bestow upon a graduating class.
“It is not a model for the younger generation to see,” Sovannara said. “Leaders should leave behind honor, dignity for the nation, and national unity.”
Rainsy’s new title of “dog” is a far cry from five years ago, when Hun Sen designated Rainsy the country’s parliamentary minority leader during a short-lived period of reconciliation between the rivals, who have sparred on the political stage for decades.