HANOI - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has been consolidating power since the death of his long-time rival, Chea Sim, in June.
Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party had been losing its appeal. That was highlighted in 2013, when the Cambodia National Rescue Party and other opposition parties surged at the polls. But the passing of the CPP president has presented Hun Sen with the opportunity to regain political momentum.
On June 20, the day after Chea Sim's grand funeral in Phnom Penh, 508 CPP members gathered to elect Hun Sen as his successor. Ever since Sim's health concerns became known, the prime minister had made clear his desire to succeed him by openly saying he would be the next party leader.
The latest development may even give the prime minister of 30 years the chance to set up his own political dynasty.
On July 23, Hun Sen summoned 5,000 senior military and government officials to give instructions relating to border disputes with Vietnam and increased vigilance regarding dissident, all with the aim of boosting morale.
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