Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, has announced that he will resign and hand over power to his son, Hun Manet, in the coming weeks.
Hun Sen, 70, has ruled Cambodia since 1985 and has been criticized for his increasingly authoritarian rule. He first flagged a power transition to his eldest son Hun Manet in 2020, but until Wednesday, observers had not been sure when exactly that handover would occur.
“I would like to ask for understanding from the people as I announce that I will not continue as prime minister,” he said in a special broadcast on state television. He said he would be stepping down as staying in office could cause instability.
His son, Hun Manet, was until recently, the commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, and has been groomed for the position for years. He took a leading role in campaigning for the 23 July election this year- and was often spotted leading rallies next to his father, who has ruled the Southeast Asian nation of 16 million people for 38 years.
Saturday’s election was widely seen as a done deal- because the only credible opposition party was disqualified from the vote. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claimed a landslide win with more than 80% of the vote.
Hun Sen said he would continue as the head of the CPP and member of the National Assembly. The newly elected parliament would convene on August 21 and a new cabinet would be sworn in on August 22, he said.
Hun Manet is expected to become the prime minister on August 10, according to his father.