Dual citizenship barred for holders of top posts

PARLIAMENT has passed constitutional amendments barring holders of the country’s top posts, including the prime minister, from being citizens of other countries.

Prime Minister Hun Sen had on Oct 6 ordered the justice ministry to make the changes, which also allow the upper and lower houses speakers, and the head of the constitutional council, to only hold Cambodian citizenship.

He said this was “to show loyalty to the nation and avoid foreign interference”.

Heng Samrin, president of the Cambodian National Assembly, said the amendments aimed to oppose foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs or in the directing of its national and international policies.

The order by Hun Sen to make the constitutional changes came days after a report in the Guardian newspaper wrongly named him as one of thousands of non-Europeans given Cypriot passports.

The Guardian report was corrected to say that his inner circle, rather than the Prime Minister himself, had received a Cypriot passport.

A Reuters Special Report in October 2019 showed that family members and key police, business and political associates of Hun Sen had bought foreign nationality via a citizenship for sale arrangement in Cyprus.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, a French citizen living in Paris to avoid a series of convictions in Cambodia, said in an email that the new rules would deprive potential future leaders of the chance to serve the country at the highest level.

“For historical reasons, our population is spread around the world and many Cambodians with dual nationality have achieved great success outside the country,” Sam Rainsy said. — Reuters

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