Cambodia’s Hun Sen has ruled for 35 years – is he looking to shore up his dynasty?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen marks 35 years in office today, a landmark that divides opinion in the politically tense Southeast Asian nation.

According to his critics, his longevity has been achieved through murder, repression, endemic corruption and dictatorial power – from his still-shrouded actions as a Khmer Rouge deputy commander in the 1970s to the bloody coup he orchestrated to take power in 1997. After dissolving the country’s largest opposition party in 2017, he has turned Cambodia
back into a de facto one-party state, many argue.

“Hun Sen can celebrate the fact that Cambodia belongs to him,” said Paul Chambers, a political scientist at Naresuan University in Thailand.

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