Hun Sen, Cambodia’s ruler, has been in power too long

Mar 22, 2018

A COUNTRY boy, Hun Sen gets up early and works hard. He is said to spend hours every morning on his treadmill, to counter the ravages of his earlier years as a field commander and chain-smoker. Like the best autocrats, Cambodia’s prime minister understands the importance of social media. Aware that dull state television repels viewers, he lives on Facebook, buying what followers he cannot attract—he now has 9.6m of them.

He also attends to his constituents. Twice a week he goes down to the garment factories that have burgeoned around the edges of Phnom Penh, the capital. They were once a heartland for the opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). But he now delivers long, exhortatory speeches to the textile workers, without notes. He has put up their minimum wage to $170 a month, provided health care and even promised maternity leave.

Since you cannot be too careful, Mr Hun Sen has also abolished the opposition. In November the Supreme Court agreed that the CNRP was...


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