January 20, 2018

As Hun Sen marks 33 years as PM, a look at how his time in office weighs up

Graphic and words: Jenni Reid

The Phnom Penh Post | Friday, 19 January, 2018

When Hun Sen came to power, the world was a very different place.

In the same week he was promoted to prime minister, former United States President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office for his second term. The Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall were still intact, the world wide web was years away from invention and the Kingdom was far from shaking off the aftershocks of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime.

Since his premiership began on January 14, 1985, Hun Sen has outlasted five US presidents and four Chinese, and seen the toppling of dozens of strongmen around the world. He has served as prime minister longer than anyone bar Bahrain’ s Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has lost many of his powers, and according to our ranking (left), Hun Sen is the third longest-serving elected head of government in power today – however dubious the credibility of those countries’ elections may have been, and the non-democratic means by which many of those leaders rose to the top.

In the context of South, East and Southeast Asia, the length of his premiership is particularly striking. Brunei’s Hassanal Bolkiah has ruled as sultan for a whopping 50 years, but the closest any elected politician comes behind Hun Sen is Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong, who has been prime minister for 13 years, and Malaysia’s Najib Razak, prime minister for eight.

While leadership has changed hands more frequently elsewhere in the region than in Cambodia, democracy remains elusive throughout. The Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is not expected to leave power anytime soon. Many have questioned the commitment to democracy-building of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who took over in a military coup in 2014. And Chinese President Xi Jinping has purged officials and enacted reforms to give him more power than any Communist Party leader since Mao Zedong.

Elections in the region can often leave much to be desired in terms of fairness. But it is only Hun Sen who for such a span has used political machinations – as well as the ballot box – to ensure his staying power.

In September last year, shortly after the arrest of Kem Sokha, the leader of Cambodia’s only viable opposition party, and two months before a court ruling to dissolve that same party, Hun Sen said he planned to stay in office for another decade. While some have speculated about his health, few seem to doubt he can make good on that promise.


phuc.dung.long said...

I wonder what's his 501K (for five stars) looks like. His state pension should also be a lot.

Oh wait, he wasn't elected.. state pension? Cambodia is his pension.

Justice said...

Hun Sen has never been elected by people. He was being installed by communists Chinese and VC Viets government for easy access to her wealth. Both Chinese and VC Viets benefited from her so much in term of stealing and robbing, from her people and her land e.g tones of gold and other value stuffs like timber logging to owing ankhor watt earnings trillions of dollars for their state revenue, they both got their fair share. Hun Sen is a puppet for them to be used. Hun Sen at the same time has no choice but to do as told or else. Hun Sen is trapped and at the same time he loves to be in that top seat, to be called as ‘king or Som Dech Cho’, but only to rule to ruin her. Hun Sen is under controlled, as his wife is a pure Vietnamese being implanted to check on him 24/7. Hun Sens job is to follow and to obey their order or else. Hun Sen speech has no moral, he can not think for others but himself, e.g how do you feel if you are being punished for no reason to e.g their land being robbed, on top of that owner are to be jailed for crying out loud, or killing more Khmers to satisfy the crooks communists, meaning going to war without spending. They create all kinds of problems for Hun Sen to death with while they are busy stealing from her. Hun Sen has no idea what’s been happening, all he sees is problems among Khmers people or they would introduce a beautiful woman for Hun Sen wife to fuell up more anger, in order to continue to kill her and her people e.g the case of Pisith Pilica etc. right now, Cambodian needs he,p from UN and US or else Khmers no more. Because in the end,both Chinese and vc Viets will be moving in. Which is already happening for the last few weeks, millions are migrating to fill in the land. Doing so is to conquer her for the sake of South China Sea. Hun Sen will be finished once he is no longer useful.

Kim Ea said...

His 33 years in power as a PM was not really a glorifies for the nation, in fact it was hiding a full discrepancy and bad rhetoric in it . This autocratic maniac, which installed in this position By Vietnam occupier forces based their dependent strength on their foreign forces ghost hiding behind the scene away from Khmer eyes and corroborated a corruption system in the administration as a bribery or allowances to shut Khmer patriotic up, in their period of long lasting rule .Every Khmer, even the CPP membership in the lower level echelon known well that they been manipulated to stay quiet and shut up to receive a favoritism or be a puppet or servant to his maniac f occupation , if you don't want to dies or reprisal . He traitor did everything in favor of his patron satisfaction to maintain his power as puppet PM and have not any intend to served pleasure of Khmer citizen. Of today Khmer lives in fear and worry under his brutality hand, not quite a different from living in a prison without wall. I said like this many CPP hardcore will scold me as bias to their pathological leader, but the truth is there ,if you are a common sense citizen. you can see in your real eyes about the make up of Yuan citizen in Khmer land. They seem to have less burden of pressure and more privilege than real Khmer citizen of the country isn't it? They gave millions of Hectar land to Yuan foreign companies in a fake association as land for economic concession . Why his administration chased or pushed Khmer of hundred or thousand families out from that concession land and gave that same land to foreigner or his associate cronies tied to Yuan companies ? Why ? In this wonderland, Money can win over the tear of citizen,draconian laws,power corruption ,thugs and brutal military top brass in the government can commit any serious crimes free and relentless to implement of intractable hardship on Khmer owner to leave can gave this free land to Vietnam .At any level and any moment Khmer citizen seem to be an unprotected spicy in front of Yuan occupation , all harsh punishment treatment at all level was felt on Khmer head instead of illegal foreign citizen . Look at all deforestation scheme and untamed contraband was happen at any level . These depleted forest and anarchic scheme was set up by this traitor regime just secretly to take care and feed half of million Vietnam forces hiding in Khmer land in a formal uniform as Khmer forces. Ranking Yuan officers in the military used Khmer name as officials name ,but Yuan disguised and also commander of the unit. They secretly implanted in this Khmer army .You see crook generals and their association was not a real commander of these army .even a small ranking Yuan in the unit never receive or respect these puppet generals order. All of this is not a Khmer prison without walls, what else you can say ? One Yuan died by Khmer mob ,this administration cried foul like the sky collapse on heir head, but when Yuan immigrant Kill Khmer, they look of thousand of bribe first before talking and sometime side with criminal out laws instead of protecting Khmer poor victim . In some case official tried to diminished the cruelty facts and cover up to collected more bribery .This a real power mongering of maniac Yuan installed servant PM that reign over 33 years in this poor land .

tk said...

Hun Sen should be ashamed of himself. 33 years of his leadership, Cambodia achieved nothing of its own. The only achievement he accomplishes is turning Cambodia into a begging country. For 33 years we beg to survive. Roads, bridges, constructions of all kinds of state institutions buildings were all donated by foreign countries. Yet, all kinds of Cambodia resources were gone as the result of 99 years concessions to foreigners such as Vietnam and China. His cronies are doing everything at will including forcibly taking people's land and clearing all our forest. And people who dare to protest would be accused by Hun Sen of participating in Color Revolution. If we look at our neighbors, notably Thailand, Lao, Burma, Vietnam, begging are not their norm. I never heard of any of these countries beg other countries. They know that begging makes their countries looked bad in the eyes of their people. It's about time Hun Sen and Khmer people pride of our honor and quit begging business altogether and try to survive by our own means.