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Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, said on Wednesday that he would resign next month and hand power to his son.
Mr. Hun Sen, 70, made the announcement in a televised address, three days after his political party had declared victory in stage-managed parliamentary elections. He said in the address that his eldest son, Gen. Hun Manet, 45, would succeed him and that the move would not violate any rules in the National Assembly because his son is also a lawmaker.
In June, Mr. 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.
“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.
Mr. 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 Aug. 22, according to local news media.
His Cambodian People’s Party was always a virtual lock to sweep the election on Sunday. His government has suppressed all meaningful opposition over the years by jailing dozens of critics and shuttering dissenting news media outlets, among other tactics.
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.
Mr. 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, Mr. Hun Sen’s usually very active Facebook went dark after the oversight board for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, recommended that he be suspended from the platform for threatening political opponents with violence. But a few days before the vote, his account was reactivated.
Posted on 26 Jul 2023 11:28 link