Cambodia’s ruling party endorses PM Hun Sen’s son as future leader

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  • Hun Sen
    Prime Minister of Cambodia (1984-present)
  • Hun Manet
    Cambodia general
File: This photo taken on 13 October 2009 shows Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) posing with his son, Hun Manet, during a ceremony at a military base in Phnom Penh (AFP via Getty Images)
File: This photo taken on 13 October 2009 shows Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) posing with his son, Hun Manet, during a ceremony at a military base in Phnom Penh (AFP via Getty Images)

Cambodia’s ruling party has endorsed the current prime minister’s son as the future leader of the country.

The central committee of the Cambodia People’s Party (CPP), which has ruled the southeast country for a long time, unanimously voted to endorse 69-year-old Hun Sen’s eldest son 44-year-old Hun Manet as the “future prime minister” of the country.

Hun Sen has been in power for almost 37 years in Cambodia and is one of the world’s longest serving leaders.

Hun Sen had, earlier this month, defended dynastic politics and endorsed his son as the future leader of the country.

“I announce today that I support my son to continue as prime minister,” he had said. “Why would someone else’s son be able to become prime minister and the son of Hun Sen not be able to?”

The ruling party, however, didn’t announce any timeframe for handing down the premiership.

Hun Manet will have to face an election that is scheduled for 2023.

In a bid to bolster his son’s chances for becoming the next prime minister, Hun Sen had said last year that he would “support and educate” him “to unleash his fullest potential”.

“If he is not capable as his father, he might get at least 80 to 90 per cent out of me. Yet, it depends on people’s voices. The first concern is whether the party would accept him. The second is the general elections.”

Now that the party has also endorsed Hun Manet, it remains to be seen what happens in the general elections.

Hun Manet currently serves as the deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the joint chief of staff.

He has also been inducted as a member of the permanent committee of the CPP.

Hun Manet was also educated at America’s Military Academy and after gaining a master’s degree in the US and a doctorate in Britain, he had returned to Cambodia in 2008.

In June 2020, the deputy commander was promoted from vice president to president of the youth wing of the CPP.

Sam Seun, a spokesperson for the Royal Academy of Cambodia, had told South China Morning Herald last year that he was made the president of the party’s youth wing because he “understood that in the future youth would play a very important role in leading Cambodia and he wanted to ensure that Cambodia was ready for future leaders.”

During Hun Sen’s rule, the country’s opposition, its media and critics of the rule have all been allegedly stifled.

The CPP had accused opposition of plotting against the federal administration and attempting to overthrow their rule, after which the main opposition party was dissolved before the elections in 2017.

The CPP holds every seat in the country’s parliament.

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