Prime Minister Hun Sen had been grooming him for years. And in December 2021, he finally declared that his eldest son – the foreign-educated military general, Hun Manet – would one day succeed him as Cambodia’s next prime minister.
“Who would dare to oppose this? Hun Sen will die someday, so why not let his son take over?” he asked at a public event in Sihanoukville.
This week, the prime minister said the transfer of power could become a reality as soon as next month.
But the prime minister’s son isn’t the only heir poised to take on power from an aging generation of political elites. They appear ready to hand over the government to a new generation, many of whom are literally their sons and daughters.
In April, the prime minister sent a dozen senior government ministry appointments to King Norodom Sihamoni for his approval. Every candidate was related to a top military, government or CPP official.
The last parliamentary election in 2018 was widely condemned as neither free nor fair after the Supreme Court ordered that the main opposition party at the time, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, be disbanded.
Duong Chantra, a senior CNRP official who now lives in Thailand, said the CPP’s nepotistic practices aren’t fair to ambitious and capable young Cambodians who don’t have powerful relatives.
“We don’t want to see them practice such dynastic power transfer,” he said. “It creates disappointment and hopelessness for the younger generations who are not from that kind of lineage.”
The CPP is preparing to welcome members of the new generation into the prime minister’s cabinet after the election, CPP spokesman Sok Ey San told Radio Free Asia this week.
In an earlier interview, he told RFA that the party that wins elections has the right to appoint who they want.
“Are there any countries in the world that employ the children of opposition party officials?” he asked. “For our ruling party, we appoint and promote people from our own party.”
Source: Radio Free Asia