The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has scheduled its Central Committee meeting for December 24, with an agenda focused on building support for the candidacy of Hun Manet –Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) – as prime minister after his father’s eventual retirement from office.
More than 830 CPP members are expected to be in attendance at the meeting.
“Tomorrow morning we will hold the meeting of the CPP’s Central Committee,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the inauguration of the administrative building of the General Department of Customs and Excise on December 23.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan confirmed to The Post on December 23 that the first item on the agenda of the meeting was to elect two more party vice-presidents.
“The second item on the agenda is a vote of support for [Hun Manet] as a prime ministerial candidate in future elections,” he said.
He added that at the third item on the agenda was a speech by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng that will touch on various topics concerning the commune council elections in 2022 and the fourth will be a message from Hun Sen in his capacity as CPP president.
Hun Sen first announced his son’s candidacy during the inauguration for 37 newly completed roads and three wastewater treatment stations in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2.
The premier said he announced Manet’s candidacy in response to speculation that he intended to simply appoint Manet as prime minister without going through the general election, a scenario he dismissed as inappropriate, against CPP regulations and totally unconstitutional.
After Hun Sen’s public endorsement, Manet supporters took to social media to express enthusiasm for his future candidacy.
Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun told The Post on December 23 that Hun Sen currently holds absolute power over the CPP, the management of all government affairs and the country as a whole.
“I believe that the functional plan that is being prepared to recruit his eldest son as the next CPP candidate for prime minister isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” he said.
Chanroeun said that for Manet or anyone to become the future leader of Cambodia, they must gain the respect of the people and that Manet as prime minister would be perfectly fine as long as he takes office by winning a free and fair election.
“Choosing leaders by electing them is the core element of democracy that gives them legitimacy and a mandate to lead the country with the full support of the people, something that unelected leaders can never possibly have,” he said.