After Hun Manet became prime minister, his brother Many becomes one of his deputies

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 2:32 pm

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – After Hun Sen handed power over to his eldest son, Hun Manet, last August, his youngest son, Many, is getting the post of deputy prime minister, following a unanimous vote by the Cambodian parliament.

Hun Many, who was already Minister of Civil Service in his brother’s cabinet, is now the eleventh deputy prime minister, joining the offspring of many other top leaders in the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which has virtually banned all opposition forces.

Hun Manet justified his brother’s appointment by saying that it is in line with the need for “highest efficiency of the government’s policy”. As for accusations of nepotism, “It just so happens that the minister has the same family name as me,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Cambodians will go to the polls next Sunday to elect the Senate; last year, the CPP won 120 out of 125 seats in the National Assembly.

One of the people they can elect is Hun Sen, 71, who ruled the country from 1985 to 2023. He is running in Kandal, which he represented as an MP since 1993. Few doubt that he will win and eventually become the Speaker of the Senate.

Cambodia’s upper house has only 62 members, two appointed by the king, two by the National Assembly, and 58 elected by the members of municipal councils, all controlled by the ruling party. The vote is unlikely to have any surprises.

Following the government’s crackdown, Cambodia’s opposition has been trying to reorganise abroad.

Mu Sochua, the former vice president of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (which is outlawed in Cambodia) resigned in order to lead the Khmer Movement for Democracy (KMD), a movement of exiles set up in Washington, DC last September.

“Decades of corruption and authoritarian rule have left our people impoverished, our democracy dismantled, and our natural resources plundered,” reads a KMD statement.

The latter does not want to just turn into another opposition political party, but its goal is to work to unite Cambodians around the world.

“The immediate goals within the next six months are to send messages to people to stop their fear, to work with NGOs, to do work to urge the Paris Agreement signatories to fulfil their duties and to initiate people to stand up and stop crying and being afraid,” Mu Sochua said.

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