Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, known for his hardline rule and one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, has declared his intention to step down from power after nearly four decades in office.
The announcement came on Wednesday, as he revealed his plan to pass the baton to his eldest son, signaling a dynastic succession within the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Having assumed control of the country in 1985, following his background as a former Khmer Rouge cadre, Hun Sen’s leadership has been characterized by a strong grip on authority. During his tenure, he effectively eliminated any opposition to his rule, going as far as banning opposition parties, coercing challengers into exile, and suppressing freedom of expression.
In the recently held election, which took place on Sunday, the CPP secured an overwhelming victory with a staggering 82 percent of the vote. However, critics have raised concerns, likening the anticipated transfer of power to North Korea’s dynastic leadership.
During a special broadcast on state television, the 70-year-old leader expressed his gratitude to the people and sought understanding as he officially declared his decision to step down as prime minister.
The political landscape leading up to the election had been marred by controversy, as election authorities disqualified the only substantial challenger, the Candlelight Party, on a technicality, leaving the CPP virtually unchallenged in its quest for power. As a result, the CPP is poised to secure almost all the lower house seats, further cementing its dominance in Cambodian politics.
This momentous announcement paves the way for a significant shift in Cambodia’s political landscape, raising questions about the future direction of the country under the leadership of Hun Sen’s eldest son. (Sourced online/ai/mnm)