Cambodian Parliament Elects Longtime Ruler's Son as New PM

Cambodian Parliament Elects Longtime Ruler's Son as New PM
Image copyright: Unsplash

The Facts

  • On Tuesday, Cambodia's national assembly unanimously endorsed the four-star general Hun Manet to succeed his father, the outgoing PM Hun Sen, who ruled for nearly four decades.

  • This comes as Hun Sen anticipated that his eldest son was to take over as prime minister shortly after his Cambodian People's Party's landslide electoral victory in July, in which Hun Manet won his first assembly seat.

The Spin

Narrative A

This reshaped, youthful cabinet led by a US and UK-educated individual may lead to a thawing in tensions with the West, offering Cambodia the opportunity to reshape its policies. With tourism damaged since the pandemic and Chinese investment below domestic expectations, there is a chance, albeit a small one, that the country may change its direction.

Narrative B

Hopes that the Western-educated Hun Manet will reform the police state his father built or even abandon its vital alliance with China are completely delusional, as Hun Sen will continue to pull the strings as head of the ruling party. Cambodia won't change while this regime stands and this family remains in power, so the West should define an effective strategy to defend its interests and security.

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