Hun Manet – the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen and a prime ministerial candidate for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) – has rebuffed speculations that the official endorsement of his candidacy had led to a rift with his brother Hun Many.
Manet, who is currently Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, rejected the claims after some commentators suggested that the two brothers had actively carried out political activities at the same time to gain popularity and drum up support among the public.
“My family of five siblings are like five pillars supporting a house. If one pillar were to break, it would unbalance the house and collapse it … My parents instilled this sense of unity when I was very young,” he said during an admission ceremony for new CPP members in Siem Reap town on September 3.
The lieutenant general stressed that the five pillars will remain strong.
“We will not let this house collapse, as this would kill us all. I cannot believe that anyone would think my brother and I are ignorant enough to let that happen,” he added.
Manet, who once kept a low profile, has begun to carry out more and more political activities and is increasingly in the public eye since the official endorsement.
The analysts, whom Manet did not name, opined that this coincided with the release of a new book, PM’s Eldest Son: Hun Manet’s Journey to Prime Ministerial Post.
The book was released around the same time as a biography of Many was published. The book, titled Hope of Hun Many, was written by veteran journalist Leang Delux, the co-founder of media outlet Thmey Thmey.
The timing of the releases was “coincidental”, but some analysts saw it as the start of campaigning for the prime ministerial post.
Many, who is also president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), took issue with the speculations in an August 31 social media post.
“I and my eldest brother Manet clearly understand the nature of those interpretations and that this analysis has the intent of dividing us. But we thank them for motivating us to form further internal solidarity within our family.”
Hun Sen reiterated that Many has always demonstrated his full support for Manet to succeed him as Prime Minister.
“My family has no internal dispute, and nor are two of my sons conducting a popularity contest for the prime ministerial post,” he said.
The prime minister stressed that Many has no ambition to vie for the top office.