It is an open secret that after 36 years in power, making him one of the world’s longest-serving leaders, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen is thinking about his political exit – something that must be on his mind now as he sits alone during his second forced quarantine of the year. With biting irony, he said last November that he wants to dedicate his post-political career to becoming a lawyer, after spending his political career dismantling Cambodia’s rule of law.
When Hun Sen’s retirement takes places, and who replaces him, are unanswerable queries of the Phnom Penh grapevine. Does he plan to hand power to one of his sons, with most analysts speculating his dynastic favorite to be his eldest, the de-facto military chief Hun Manet? Or does power go to a safe and uncontroversial pair of hands from within the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) rather than the House of Hun? Since last year, the technocratic Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth’s name has been thrown into the ring, although this may only be to quell speculation about Hun Manet.