Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia resigns, to be succeeded by his son

Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia resigns, to be succeeded by his son
Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia resigns

PHNOM PENH: One of the longest-serving leaders in the world, Hun Sen on Wednesday announced that he will resign as prime minister in three weeks and hand the position to his eldest son Hun Manet. He has been prime minister of Cambodia since 1985, reported New York Times.

Three days after his political party claimed victory in stage-managed parliamentary elections, Hun Sen, 70, made the news in a televised speech. In the speech, he announced that his 45-year-old oldest son, Gen. Hun Manet, would follow him, adding that since his son is also a politician, the succession would not be in violation of any National Assembly regulations.

However, Hun Sen said he will still be the head of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and a member of the national assembly. The CPP swept the recent general election on July 30, taking 82 per cent of the vote. Hun Sen said Hun Manet will be appointed on August 10.

In June, Hun Sen had said that he would hand over the premiership to his son at some point after the vote. But he also made clear that he had no plans to retire, the New York Times reported.

“Even if I am no longer a prime minister, I will still control politics as the head of the ruling party,” he said at the time.

Hun Sen, who has held power since 1985, said on Wednesday that his son would be confirmed as the new prime minister by Parliament on August 22, New York Times reported citing local news media.

His government has suppressed all meaningful opposition over the years by jailing dozens of critics and shuttering dissenting news media outlets, among other tactics, according to the New York Times.

In March, a prominent opposition leader, Kem Sokha, was sentenced to 27 years of house arrest on a treason charge and barred from running or voting in elections. Another opposition leader with a high profile, Sam Rainsy, lives in exile in France.

Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge fighter, has long maintained tight control of most of Cambodia’s institutions. In recent years he has used social media to reinforce his power.

Weeks before the recent election, Hun Sen’s Facebook account went silent after the company recommended that he would be suspended from the platform for threatening political opponents with violence. However, a few days before the vote, his account was reactivated. (ANI)

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