A New King

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will resign next month and hand power to his son, an announcement that came just days after his ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) secured a landslide victory in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The 70-year-old leader announced the decision in a televised address, saying parliament will confirm his son, Gen. Hun Manet, as the country’s new prime minister on Aug. 22.

Hun Sen had previously hinted he would step down in favor of his son at some point after the July 23 election, adding that he will “still control politics as the head of the ruling party.”

The announcement came three days after the CPP swept the parliamentary vote, winning 120 of 125 seats in the legislature, Bloomberg added. The ruling party ran virtually unopposed after the government had suppressed any meaningful opposition over the years by jailing dozens of critics and shuttering dissenting news media outlets.

Many Western nations criticized the vote, with the United States imposing visa restrictions on individuals “who undermined democracy and implemented a pause of certain foreign assistance programs.”

In power since 1985, Hun Sen has brought Cambodia much closer to China in order to improve its economy, in return for supporting Beijing’s geopolitical aims in the region.

Analysts told Bloomberg that his son could potentially lead to a diplomatic reset between Cambodia and Western governments – but that will depend on how active Hun Sen will be in the country’s politics.

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