Marriages Abound Among the Political Elite

Friday’s marriage of the son of Prime Minister Hun Sen to the daughter of a top-ranking government official was the latest be­tween the children of ruling party members.

Weddings involving the offspring and relatives of Hun Sen and National Police Director General Hok Lundy and RCAF Commander-in-Chief Ke Kim Yan and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng have been the highlights of the social calendar in recent years.

And these marriages—traditionally arranged by parents—have helped tighten alliances among Cambodia’s most powerful, particularly in the CPP, giving close relationships of political convenience an extra, familial dimension.

Kem Sokha, the director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and a former Funcinpec senator, said Monday that such weddings are “normal.”

“The parents have known each other and have confided in one another,” he said.

And that knowledge makes them comfortable and confident, with the belief that the spouse of their son or daughter will be just as trustworthy, or loyal, as his or her parents, he said.

But Heav Veasna, managing director at the Center for Social De­velopment, warned the prac­tice of intermarriage among the power elite could weaken society, with people believing that their loyalty rests first with family alliances.

And too much power in too few hands could hinder the growth and development of civil society, according to Men Nath, director of Khmer Democratic Front for Students and Intellectuals.

Friday’s wedding between the premier’s son, Hun Many, 21, and Yim Chhay Lin, also 21 and the daughter of Ministry of Rur­­al Development Secretary of State Yim Chhay Ly, added another strand to the web of relationships by marriage among top officials.

A large reception, with 3,000 invited guests, was held Sunday at the Mondial Center, one of the city’s largest banquet halls.

Hundreds of parked vehicles crowded the area, and a large num­ber of military police and police officers and two fire engines helped ensure order and security.

The wedding follows last year’s marriage between Hun Manit, another son of the prime minister, and Hok Lundy’s daughter.

A niece of Hun Sen was wed to a son of Hok Lundy in 1998, and another niece of the prime minister married Neth Savouen, now the deputy director general of national police, that same year.

Sar Sokha, the eldest son of Sar Kheng, married Ke Sun Sophy, the eldest daughter of Ke Kim Yan, in March of last year.

 

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