In 1997, the year he turned 45, Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen ordered a ruthless and brutal military strike against his coalition government partners.
It marked the end of a four-year power-sharing agreement that was instituted after Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s party lost the UN-organised 1993 election, but refused to give up control to the victorious Funcinpec party. Dozens of soldiers and officials in the royalist group were murdered in the following weeks, and Hun Sen emerged the sole prime minister.
Next month, at the age of 45, Hun Manet will take over that role from his father — the first transition of power in 38 years. The handover announcement on July 26 came days after the CPP swept a national election widely seen as a sham after their only credible rivals were disqualified.