It has taken Prime Minister Hun Sen almost a decade to announce his political successor, which he did on Dec 2. At first, he has in mind at least four choices — the first pair comprising his two sons, Hun Manet and Hun Many and the second pair of senior colleagues, Sar Kheng and Say Chumm of Cambodia People’s Party. Then, he decided to focus on the first pair.
True to his character, at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng to Tbong Khumum provinces on Dec 6, Hun Sen was very candid about his future heir. He even challenged his senior comrades to nominate their children to contest the party leadership. As a father, Hun Sen has been observing the two siblings at close range to decide who can stand in for him after he retires from politics. Hun Sen, now 69, used to say that he would stay on in his position until he was 90 years old. But with this decision, he confirmed that he will quit politics for good sooner or later. With his stamina and health condition, he can stay on til 2028 if he so desires. The question is when he will step down. This will depend on two key factors — Hun Manet’s preparedness and readiness and the overall condition of internal politics.