Newly minted Prime Minister Hun Manet vowed to accomplish six priority goals during his first five-year tenure, which began when he officially assumed the role on August 22.
The National Assembly (NA) gave him a vote of confidence on the morning of August 22, during the second day of the inaugural session of the NA’s 7th legislative term.
Manet, 45, is a lawmaker for Phnom Penh. He succeeds his father, former Prime Minister Hun Sen who had been in power for nearly four decades. Hun Sen remains president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which won 120 out of the total 125 parliament seats in the July 23 general election.
King Norodom Sihamoni has bestowed upon Manet the honorific “Kitti Tesaphibal Bindit”, a title for a “leader with profound knowledge and highest intelligence who will lead the country to greater prosperity”.
During his first address to the NA as prime minister, Manet spoke at length on the government’s vision, which is based on his party’s “Political Platform for Nation Building and Defense 2023-28”. He highlighted five “guarantees” that will be applied during his tenure.
They include ensuring the absolute protection of peace, stability and public order, as well as socio-economic development across all sectors, the improvement of people’s livelihoods, social security, and building resilience to climate change through sustainable development.
“As Head of the Royal Government of Cambodia for the Seventh Legislature of the National Assembly, I solemnly pledge to all of my compatriots that I will lead our nation’s executive body resolutely, and ensure that the government’s political platform will be successfully implemented, as this is what the CPP promised before the election,” he said.
As the basis of the five guarantees, he laid out six priority policy programmes that will be enacted immediately.
The first was the expansion of healthcare services towards the goal of providing universal health coverage.
Providing vocational and technical training for youth from impoverished and vulnerable households across the nation is his government’s second priority.
He also announced his intention to institutionalise national social assistance programmes for vulnerable and at-risk households during economic crises and emergencies.
“Formulating and accelerating the implementation of the Informal Economy Development Strategy to enable informal workers to participate in the formal economy and share the benefits of the Kingdom’s formal social protection systems is our fourth priority,” he said.
For the fifth priority, Manet explained that the government will introduce mechanisms and financing programmes that will enhance the production, market access and price stability of agricultural products.
“We will deploy agricultural technical officers to each of the communes and districts across the Kingdom where agricultural activities take place, and organise the forming of farmers’ associations in rural areas,” he said of the sixth priority area.
Manet called on the NA, officials at all levels of state institutions, the armed forces, all partner organisations and the private sector to support the implementation of his plans and contribute to their success.
He noted that their contributions will allow the CPP’s platform to evolve into a strong and dynamic collective movement that will bring success to the Cambodian people, adding that the government will also strive to implement the “Pentagon Strategy” – Phase I 2023-28, which focuses on socio-economic policy agendas.
He thanked the Cambodian electorate for supporting the government, led by the CPP. He believes that the recent election results, which saw the CPP earn the ballot of 82.3 per cent of the over 8.2 million voters, underscored the wishes of the majority of people.
“They entrusted the motherland to the political party and leaders that they expect will lead them along the path of democracy and the rule of law.
“With such support, the government is committed to rallying all efforts, successfully carrying out our historic mission and achieving great success,” he pledged.
As he reached this new milestone in life, Manet received congratulatory messages from a wide range of supporters, including King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.
“I am happy to congratulate Kitti Tesaphibal Bindit for receiving a vote of confidence as prime minister of Cambodia, along with the other dignitaries who have become members of the government and will continue to lead and build the country,” said the Queen Mother, in an August 22 letter to Manet.
Likewise, the King praised Manet as an outstanding young leader of Cambodia, highlighting his morality, qualifications, talent, national conscience, and the fact that he has been involved in many sectors related to the Kingdom’s development for many years.
“I strongly believe that during the seventh mandate, Kitti Tesaphibal Bindit and the other dignitaries within the government ranks will continue to lead the country toward great successes and will protect political stability and peace, in the interests of our nation,” said a letter from the King.
The August 22 plenary session also gave a vote of confidence to Khuon Sudary, electing her as NA president, the first women to ever assume the role. Cheam Yeap and Vong Soth were selected as the first and second vice-presidents of the NA respectively.
Addressing the assembly, Sudary pledged to fulfil her mission as a representative of the people through strong cooperation with national institutions – especially the executive – to promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law, and serve the interests of the people and the nation.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the appointment of a large number of the new generation of leaders represents a milestone development in Cambodian politics. He expects the changes to result in political stability, peace and the normal functioning of society.
He noted that the new Cabinet members are well educated, have good reputations and are all considered strong candidates in terms of both knowledge and spirit, though it remains to be seen how they will perform.
“Some of them have already held ministerial positions, but most of them are new to their roles. Let’s wait before we begin to judge their performance,” he said.