Cambodian strongman Hun Sen resigns 38 years on, hands power to son

Bangkok, Jul 26 (EFE) .- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power since 1985, announced his resignation Wednesday to cede office to his firstborn Hun Manet.

The decision, announced Wednesday by Hun Sen himself in a televised speech, comes after the Cambodian People’s Party, led by the 70-year-old veteran, won the elections held last weekend.

Hun Sen, the Asian leader in power for the longest time, said in his message that he’d leave office on Aug. 22, the day the new government headed by his eldest son, 45, and a neophyte, is formed in politics.

“My son will not inherit this position without a legitimate process (…) he has participated in the election as a candidate for parliament, a fundamental step in our democratic system,” Hun Sen said in his speech to the nation.

Hun Manet, a four-star Cambodian army general trained at the United States Military Academy at West Point, recently carved out a public image of a statesman closely linked to his father’s legacy and led the party’s electoral list in Phnom Penh.

The prime minister met Wednesday morning with Cambodian King Sihamoni to personally inform him of the step back from him.

The prime minister said at this meeting that the monarch conveyed his intention to name him head of the king’s senior advisers.

“I will keep my presidency of the ruling party and I will continue to be a member of parliament,” Hun Sen also said, adding he would run in the senate elections in 2024 and, if elected, preside over the Upper House.

In Sunday’s vote, the party won 82.3 percent of all votes and won 120 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly, while the remaining five will be held by the monarchist Funcinpec party, led by Prince Chakravuth.

The elections registered a large number of invalid votes to protest against the leader and were described as “neither free nor fair” by various NGOs in the absence of a representative opposition due to the May suspension of the Candlelight Party and the harassment of dissidents, among others. EFE


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