The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) achieved a landslide victory in the commune elections in June 2022, gaining 80 per cent of the 11,622 commune council positions. Yet there is speculation that Cambodian Premier Hun Sen is unlikely to stand as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2028 national election.
That much became clear on 2 December 2021 when Hun Sen declared support for his oldest son, Hun Manet, to be the next prime ministerial candidate for the CPP. Supportive posts from CPP members swamped Hun Manet’s Facebook profile after the announcement, but the absence of congratulatory messages from Sar Kheng, a senior CPP member, led to speculation that some senior party members did not favour the new candidate. While there may be a little friction within the party, it is unlikely to pose a challenge to the CPP’s potential new leader.
Hun Manet’s rise to key positions within the party suggests that Hun Sen has sufficient support to overrule any opposition to his son’s candidacy within the CPP. In late 2018, Hun Manet became a member of the CPP’s permanent committee consisting of thirty of the CPP’s most powerful members. He was appointed head of the Party’s 1.5 million member strong Youth Movement in June 2020. He was then elevated to deputy head of the CPP’s Mass Movement section in December 2020 — engage with the Cambodian people.