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Hun Sen’s protocol staff receive Council of Ministers promotions

Hun Sen's protocol staffer, Song Leng Bora (R), attends the election campaign in Phnom Penh, Picture taken July 7, 2018. CamboJA/ Pring Samrang
Hun Sen's protocol staffer, Song Leng Bora (R), attends the election campaign in Phnom Penh, Picture taken July 7, 2018. CamboJA/ Pring Samrang

Three of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s protocol officials have been promoted to Secretaries of State for the Council of Ministers.

According to the Royal Decree signed by King Norodom Sihamoni on April 23, Song Leng Bora, Try Sokha and Chea Khupea received the promotions.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said that the promotions were made after an evaluation of their qualifications and work experience.

“It is necessary to promote because sometimes those who work in that skill can change their roles and responsibilities to another place,” he said.

In a Royal Decree dated April 19, four of Hun Sen’s bodyguards were promoted to the position of lieutenant general in the military unit.

Political analyst Em Sovanara said the promotion of officials around the prime minister is the way to strengthen his family’s power.

“In general, the ruling party must prepare a mechanism for promoting trusted persons to hold positions in the office of the Council of Ministers, as well as to maintain the stability of the future transfers of power for the next generation, especially for his son Hun Manet,” he said.

Sovanara said that based on the principles of democracy, promotions must not be done along factional lines, but have to be considered solely from capacity.

“Currently, no one in the ruling party dares to raise this issue because power is concentrated on the president of the same party,” he said.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen is escorted by his bodyguards during celebration marking the 66th anniversary of the country’s independence day in Phnom Penh, Picture taken November 9, 2019. CamboJA/ Pring Samrang

In early December, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that Manet would be a prime minister candidate and that he had his father’s support. Later that month, Manet was unanimously endorsed by the CPP’s central committee as the next PM candidate.

The prime minister then announced a new shadow cabinet of the CPP, dominated by the party’s younger generation.

Manet, who is Hun Sen’s eldest son, currently serves as commander of the Royal Cambodian Army.

Before being endorsed by CPP as the ruling party’s only prime minister candidate, Manet has been continuously promoted within Cambodia’s armed forces. In addition to his army role, he is also deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. (Additional reporting by Try Thaney)

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