On his path to becoming Asia’s longest-serving leader, Hun Sen has mastered the art of fighting for power.
When he first took charge of Cambodia as a 33-year-old in 1985, he battled remnants of the Khmer Rouge for control of the Southeast Asian nation. After losing the first election following a United Nations-brokered peace in 1993, he threatened to secede unless he was made co-prime minister. Four years later, a de facto coup put him solely in charge, a position he’s kept to this day.
Now 67, Hun Sen is suddenly worried that a group of exiled dissidents might overthrow him by force—a claim that looks hysterical on its face given many of his main political opponents have been locked up or abroad since he won all of the country’s parliamentary seats during a boycotted election last year.