Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he has broken three political records: Youngest foreign minister, youngest prime minister and longest-serving prime minister.
He noted the achievements while presiding over the inauguration of a new temple at Preah Barami Vongkot Borey Pagoda in the capital’s Sen Sok district on April 24.
“I have held the position of prime minister for about four decades, and served in the government for about 44 years. I have already broken the Guinness World Record,” he said.
“The first record was when I became the youngest foreign minister, the second was when I had the honour of becoming the youngest prime minister, and finally, I am the longest-serving prime minister in the world,” he added.
At the same time, he also mocked the many politicians who he said had attempted to usurp him as prime minister but had been unable to do so.
“Even in the next life, these people would not be able to defeat me. I am the longest-serving leader in the world, and I have done so thanks to the trust of the people. They have selected me at every single one of the mandates I have contested,” he said.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the reason that Hun Sen had been able to lead the country for so long was a combination of his genuine political talent, his natural leadership ability and because he had worked hard and dedicated himself to the nation from a very young age, beginning in one of the darkest periods of Cambodian history.
“He has been in office since he was very young. This is because of his ability to lead the country in the right direction. Without the support of the people, nobody – no matter how strong – could have held power for this long,” he added.
He explained that popularity and the support of the people is crucial to any leader.
“For example, Saloth Sar, known as Pol Pot, was one of the most ferocious leaders in our history. Despite his ferocity, he could only hold power from 1975 to 1979, a short time. Despite the brutality of the Khmer Rouge, he faced many uprisings from the people he tried to rule over,” he said.
After the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime, Hun Sen, a fighter in the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation, was appointed foreign minister of the then-People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). In 1985, he was elected prime minister by the National Assembly, following the death of his predecessor Chan Sy in a Moscow hospital.