King Norodom Sihamoni has appointed Hun Manet, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s eldest son, as the nation’s Prime Minister for the 7th-mandate government. In a royal decree dated August 7, the King tasked Manet with forming a new government pending a vote of confidence at the National Assembly (NA).

In a heartfelt message to the King, Manet pledges to embrace his role with all the passion, heroism, honesty, and responsibility needed to serve the Kingdom.

“This is the greatest honour of my life, given the unique opportunity to serve the motherland and the people of Cambodia as the deepest love in this noble and precious position,” he said, adding that he was prepared to seek the NA’s approval for his government composition.

The parliament is set to convene on August 21-22, in line with Constitution and pertinent laws.

“With Your Majesty’s trust in me on this precious occasion and with the trust of my beloved compatriots, all the dignitaries in the Royal Government of Cambodia and I are committed to fulfilling this noble national mission with heroism, honesty and utmost responsibility to serve the motherland and the people of Cambodia,” he pledged.

Manet’s commitment extends to ensuring national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. He vowed to protect the throne and the constitutional monarchy, maintain peace and social stability, promote national development, improve citizens’ lives and enhance Cambodia’s international prestige.

On August 7, Hun Sen announced via his social media channels that he would officially step down on August 22, when Manet is slated to be sworn in following the vote of confidence.

He reflected on his 38 years, seven months and eight days in office since 1985, marking him as the youngest and one of the world’s longest-serving prime ministers.

“I will continue to be Prime Minister for 15 more days, then I will be promoted to father of the Prime Minister,” he joked. “It is not the end yet. I will continue serving in other positions for at least until 2033, at which point, I will have then served for more than half a century.”

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the appointment aligns with the Cambodian People’s Party’s victory in the 2023 general election, where Manet was already a prime ministerial candidate.

Peou viewed this as a new turning point in the Kingdom’s history, foreseeing a promising future for the country under the leadership of the young blood.

“This is a new energy in politics and a turning point. We hope that the new leadership of Manet will provide a new perspective on both domestic and foreign politics. Normally, a new person, even within the same CPP political line, has new stylistic methods and tactics with which they lead,” he said.

Peou’s optimism about the qualifications of the new prime minister is rooted in Manet’s education, physical appearance, personal character, fitness and positive societal reputation.

He remarked that Manet has never been involved in any scandals, likening his character to that of a diplomat.

In a social media post, Manet outlined the CPP’s ongoing commitment to serving Cambodia and its people through five strategic goals.

The first focuses on protecting peace, independence, sovereignty and societal stability.

The second aims to build a strong democratic nation founded on the rule of law, economic growth and dignity.

The third targets the creation of an inclusive and financially sustainable social protection system to shield citizens from economic risks and public health vulnerabilities.

The fourth is to realise the goal of a mine-free Cambodia 2025.

The fifth emphasises the continuation of an independent foreign policy, fostering good relations worldwide, and actively participating in regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.

Hun Sen first announced his decision to pass the reins to Manet on July 26, though he would continue to serve as president of the CPP and take on the roles of Senate President and chair of the Supreme Royal Advisory Council.

This transitional period marks an exciting new chapter in the Kingdom’s history, filled with hope, progress and the promise of a rejuvenated political landscape, social observers have said.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong became one of the first foreign leaders to issue a letter congratulating the newly appointed prime minister, stating his willingness to work with the new government. He also penned a letter to outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen, noting his success in steering Cambodia through challenging times, and offering his gratitude for the close ties between the two nations.