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Cambodia’s Ruler of Four Decades Will Retire. His Son Is Set to Succeed Him

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will retire after nearly four decades in the power, leaving his West Point-educated son Hun Manet to form a new government after the ruling party claimed a landslide election victory over the weekend.

Speaking during a televised address Wednesday, Hun Sen said the situation in Cambodia would become unstable if he continued to stay in office and it’s “very necessary for a new cabinet of all young people” to assume control.

“The party has appointed the candidate as the PM and now he will become the Prime Minister in the coming weeks,” he said of his eldest son.

Read More: After Suppressing Opposition, Hun Sen Declares Landslide Election Win to Extend Rule

Hun Manet, 45, is a political novice who contested in elections for the first time following a career in the armed forces in which he rose through the ranks to become a four-star general. He was among the children of the ruling elite serving in positions of power as the government transitions from the old guard to the new generation for the first time since a rebellion against the Khmer Rouge in 1979. 

Preliminary results show the Cambodian People’s Party nearly swept the vote on Sunday, winning 120 of 125 seats up for grabs in the National Assembly, after the main opposition was barred from participating for a second time.

The vote was criticized by some western nations, and triggered the U.S. to impose visa restrictions on individuals “who undermined democracy and implemented a pause of certain foreign assistance programs.”

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