CPP Youth Association head Hun Many (2nd L) bids farewell to a group of youth volunteers in 2012 as they depart Phnom Penh to take part in the government’s land measurement scheme. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Putting an end to speculation, a senior ruling party official said yesterday that the youngest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen and a son-in-law will both run for National Assembly seats in July’s upcoming election. The pair will be joined by at least four other children of high-ranking government officials, including Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap told the Post that Hun Many, who at 30 is the youngest of Hun Sen’s three sons, and Dy Vichea, the husband of one of Hun Sen’s daughters, were included in a candidature list finalised during the permanent party committee session last week.
“Excellency Hun Many will run for a seat in Kampong Speu. Hun Sen’s son in-law, Excellency Dy Vichea, will run in Svay Rieng,” Yeap said.
Many, an official in Hun Sen’s cabinet, started the large-scale volunteer group “Youth in the Cause of the Motherland” last year and holds two master’s degrees.
Vichea – who is deputy director general of central security at the General Commissariat of the National Police and is married to Hun Manna – is the son of the controversial former National Police chief Hok Lundy, who died in a helicopter crash in 2008.
In addition to Vichea and Many, at least four sons of top CPP figures were hand-picked for the upcoming elections. Minister of Interior Sar Kheng’s son, Sar Sokha, is expected to run as a lawmaker in Prey Veng, Yeap said, while second vice-chairman Say Chhum’s son, Say Sam El, is up for a seat in Kampong Cham.
A son of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and a son of Supreme Court president Dith Monty will also be running, said Yeap, but he declined to specify their names or which seats they would take.
Yeap said the party was in agreement on the candidature list and was planning to submit the names by the National Election Committee’s deadline of early April.
The development is not surprising, said Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, who said he had heard CPP officials mention the possibility in the past. While he supports bringing a younger generation into politics, Panha warned it could backfire on the CPP if the party doesn’t clearly explain the move to their vast membership.
“Maybe some members will be happy about it, but maybe others won’t,” he said.
“If it becomes different sons of senior leaders, then it becomes a pattern. Maybe they should be careful.”
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