Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power for 38 years, has developed a unique succession plan. But ensuring that his eldest son Hun Manet can take over when he retires is a circle that can’t be squared.
A whole generation of Cambodian leadership needs to be replaced. The current generation came to power at the same time as Hun Sen when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979. This group is made up of veterans who are now in their 70s and 80s. It needs to be replaced by a younger and better educated generation that can deal with modern challenges.
Why has such a generational transition not unfolded spontaneously, progressively, and smoothly over the last 20 years as in other countries, including communist Vietnam and China?