Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen repeats vow to serve 10 more years, noting ‘it could be more’

Hun Sen repeats vow to serve 10 more years, noting ‘it could be more’

Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to garment workers in Takeo yesterday, where he suggested he may stay in power beyond the 10-year deadline he previously set for himself. Facebook
Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to garment workers in Takeo yesterday, where he suggested he may stay in power beyond the 10-year deadline he previously set for himself. Facebook

Hun Sen repeats vow to serve 10 more years, noting ‘it could be more’

In a speech to garment workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen repeated his pledge to serve “not less than” 10 more years, while implying his rule over the Kingdom would extend even beyond that.

“I have already declared that I will continue to be the prime minister not less than 10 years. According to the calculation for the two mandates, in 2028 I will retire,” he said, before immediately noting, “it could be more”.

“The goal is to become an upper-middle-income country by 2030. By then I could still be capable,” he said.

The premier went on to thank his audience for wishing him happiness and longevity, but said rather than wishes, they should give him their votes.

“No need to wish. What is the best thing to do? Vote for the CPP [Cambodian People’s Party] and help Hun Sen stay with the people,” he said.

The premier reminded his audience that development is a product of “political stability” and claimed that to change course now would be to abandon the progress the country has made.

The chances of any change through the ballot box were virtually extinguished when the Cambodia National Rescue Party was forcibly dissolved in November, with some observers claiming that the country has effectively become a one-party state, though a smattering of small parties with little support have pledged to compete in the elections.

Jonathan Sutton, a researcher on Southeast Asian government repression at the University of Otago, said it was unlikely Hun Sen would ever step down voluntarily.

“Historically, dictators who have consolidated personal power in the way that Hun Sen has have very rarely stepped down . . . willingly,” he said via email, explaining most either die in office or are forcibly removed.

“The big problem for them is once you’ve stepped down and lost that access to power, how do you continue to protect yourself and maintain your interests?” he continued.

Sutton noted that signs point to the premier’s son Hun Manet being “groomed” as his successor – with Hun Sen likely still in the process of “building . . . support throughout the government and security forces” for Manet’s future takeover.

Also during his speech, Hun Sen turned his attention to CNRP co-founder and rival Sam Rainsy, who recently demanded the premier leave office.

“I was elected based on the Constitution and I want to send this message to you. Me or you, if we were elected via the Constitution, we need to go down via the Constitution,” he said.

Rainsy maintained yesterday it was Hun Sen who has ignored the constitutional requirements for leadership to be selected through elections by declaring his steadfast intentions to stay in power.

“Who is in power and for how long must depend on the will of the people as expressed through democratic elections. Hun Sen seems to ignore these considerations when announcing his plan for the future,” he said via email.

Read more: How Hun Sen’s 33 years compare

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished