Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:48 am
Prime minister's kin to run in Cambodian elections
The Associated Press
Cheam Yeap, a top member of Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party, said party leaders decided last week to submit the candidacies of the prime minister's youngest son, 30-year-old Hun Many, and his son-in-law, Dy Vichea, a senior police officer in the Interior Ministry.
Their candidacies are likely to increase speculation that Hun Sen is seeking to establish a political dynasty, even though he is only 60.
Most of Hun Sen's immediate family members hold influential jobs.
His oldest and most-favored son, Hun Manet, is a two-star army general with a key defense ministry post, and was on the scene during high-profile border skirmishes with Thailand.
Second son Hun Manith is a colonel and senior member of army intelligence, and associated with land and housing reform programs, as is Hun Sen's youngest daughter. Another daughter, Hun Mana, runs the popular Bayon TV network, while wife Bun Rany heads the national Red Cross, which is more active and influential than in many other countries.
Cheam Yeap said the sons of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Interior Minister Sar Kheng will also be candidates.
Hun Sen's party holds 90 of the 123 seats in the lower house of parliament after a landslide victory in 2008. The party is well-organized and takes full advantage of its grip on the levers of power.
The opposition made some inroads in local elections last year, but is likely to face intimidation in the polls. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is in exile to avoid jail after being convicted of offenses linked to a protest over border demarcation with Vietnam. He says the case against him is politically motivated.
Hun Sen has been prime minister since 1985, and has said he won't step down until he is 90.