Ex-PM Hun Sen Appointed as Head of Supreme Privy Council

This photo shows Heng Samrin, Hun Sen, Sar Kheng, Tea Banh and Men Sam An walk to the National Assembly's building. Photo: Hun Sen's Telegram

PHNOM PENH – Former Prime Minister Hun Sen has been appointed as the head of the Supreme Privy Council with equal rank to the prime minister, according to a royal decree released on Aug. 22.

His new position comes on the same day he officially stepped down from the premiership, which was handed over to his eldest son Hun Manet in the morning, after a vote of confidence at the National Assembly.

The top position of the Supreme Privy Council was left vacant after the death of its former head, Prince Norodom Rannariddh, in 2021.

The Council is mostly composed of members of the two main royal families – the Norodoms and the Sisowaths – and has an advisory role to the King.

In a series of decrees released today, King Norodom Sihamoni also appointed other leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) as members of the Council.

In addition to being a lawmaker, representing Tbong Khmum province, Heng Samrin, the former president of the National Assembly and CPP’s honorary president, has been nominated as the Council’s honorary president, with a rank equal to prime minister.

Former Interior Minister Sar Kheng, ex-Defense Minister Tea Banh and ex-Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection Men Sam An have been nominated as members of the Council, with equal rank to deputy prime minister. They all are deputy presidents of the CPP.

Following the July 23 national elections, Sar Kheng has been elected as a lawmaker for Battambang province, while Tea Banh and Men Sam An respectively represent Siem Reap and Svay Rieng provinces.

These appointments were widely expected. As a new generation of leaders – most of whom are the children of former CPP leaders – comes to power, the old guard is keen to continue playing a backseat role.

Despite stepping down from his government position, former prime minister Hun Sen remains the CPP president and will be nominated Senate President after the February 2024 election. 

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