Hun Manet has done little, if anything, to change Cambodia

When Cambodia’s new prime minister, Hun Manet, visits Melbourne next week for the ASEAN Australia Summit, he may seem a welcome change from his long-serving authoritarian father Hun Sen. But hopes for a democratic and human rights renaissance in this genocide-ravaged and long-misgoverned country remain sadly misplaced.

Hun Sen, who had ruled Cambodia for 38 years, transferred power to his son, the 45-year-old Hun Manet, last August.

In Australia next week, the soft-spoken, Western-educated and technocratically savvy Hun Manet will likely present himself as the face of a modern, developing Cambodia, talking the talk of economic reform and more effective governance. However, his father’s talk back home is jail for his critics. And his father continues to call the shots that matter.

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