Cambodia's new PM gets OK for younger brother to be his deputy

Cambodia’s new PM gets OK for younger brother to be his deputy

/ 10:25 AM February 22, 2024

Cambodia's new PM gets OK for younger brother to be his deputy

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet poses for a photo, along with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, not in the photo, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Dec. 11, 2023. Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Thailand’s capital on his first official visit since becoming his country’s leader last year, seeking to renew the close ties the two countries have maintained in recent times. AP FILE PHOTO

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Six months after becoming Cambodia’s new prime minister, the eldest son of the country’s long-serving autocratic leader on Wednesday won approval from lawmakers to have his youngest brother take the post of deputy premier.

The development is the latest in a generational change in top positions in the Southeast Asian nation that tightens control of Cambodia’s government by a small circle of families associated with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.


Last August, Hun Manet, 46, the son of longtime leader Hun Sen and Cambodia’s military chief, became the prime minister after having engaged in foreign diplomacy more and more over the past few years. His father stepped down after 38 years in power.


READ: Cambodia’s ruling party claims landslide win in one-sided election

Hun Manet had studied at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point before serving as deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and army chief.

On Wednesday, the National Assembly overwhelmingly approved his 41-year-old brother Hun Many — Hun Sen’s third son — as deputy prime minister. All but five members of the 125-seat chamber are from the ruling party, and the 120 lawmakers who were present at Wednesday’s session voted unanimously in favor of Hun Many.

Speaking to lawmakers, Hun Manet, said his brother’s appointment was in line with his government’s policy of promoting efficiency to help Cambodia reach its goal of becoming a high-income country by 2050.

READ: Cambodian king to appoint Hun Sen’s son as new PM

While serving as deputy prime minister, Hun Many will also retain his post as civil service minister and lawmaker.


Middle brother Hun Manith, 42, is a three-star army general and chief of the Defense Ministry’s intelligence department.

Hun Manet’s Cabinet includes about three-quarters of replacements for his father’s ministers, mostly children or relatives of those whose places they took over. Experts have cautioned against expecting broad changes in Cambodia, where under Hun Sen human rights were long under attack and dissent was suppressed.

“There is not a big difference between the generations in political outlook, including in terms of how open or how competitive politics should be,” Astrid Norén-Nilsson, a Cambodia expert at Sweden’s Lund University, said after Hun Manet took power last year.

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The generational handover was designed to keep the power of the political-cum-business elite intact, she added.

TAGS: Cambodia, Politics

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