Bangkok, Dec 2 (EFE).- Cambodia’s authoritarian leader Hun Sen on Thursday announced his support for his eldest son Hun Manet to succeed him as prime minister, according to government-aligned media.
“I declare today that I support my son to be my successor as prime minister,” Hun Sen said, according to Fresh News.
He added that the position must be secured through an election.
Cambodia’s leader for 36 years was speaking during the inauguration of a road in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville.
Hun Sen has at times spoken of 44-year-old Hun Manet, a three-star general of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, as his potential successor. However, he also vowed in 2018 to continue to serve as prime minister until at least 2028.
Although he has said in recent years that he was ‘training’ Hun Manet for the position, and that his son could be prime minister if elected, Hun Sen’s public comment on Thursday is perhaps his strongest declaration of support for his son becoming leader so far.
Cambodia is due to hold general elections in 2023, although it is still unknown whether the world’s longest-running prime minister will be on the ballot again as a candidate for the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) or step aside for his son.
In 2018, Hun Manet was promoted to the CPP’s 37-member Standing Committee, becoming one of his father’s inner political circle, and last year was appointed leader of the party’s youth wing in its Permanent Central Committee.
After banning the popular opposition and jailing many of its leaders, with others fleeing into exile, Hun Sen revalidated his mandate in 2018, and the CPP took all 125 seats in parliament, making Cambodia effectively a de facto one-party state. EFE