Today I have the need to inform you – ladies and gentlemen (of the press). I hope you all followed this morning’s event, which is historic and we may consider it the event that is for the sake of our peace and development.
Before entering the content, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Mother for always supporting the efforts of the Royal Government as well as all the activities that I had been endeavoring to fulfil in the past. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues at all levels of the Armed Forces for their contributions and supports to the implementation of the policy.
More importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks to all the monks, nuns and compatriots who have always provided support during the more than 44 years of the Royal Government’s activities and more than 38 years of serving as the country’s Prime Minister.
(1) The longest in power in the world
Today I will provide an opportunity for questions. I should say that I am the longest-serving (Prime Minister) in the world […] I have already stated once – starting from Monday, January 14, 1985 to August 22, 2023, I was the Prime Minister for 2014 weeks or 14,099 days or 463 months or 38 years, 7 months and 8 days. If taking into consideration the day when I first entered politics, when I was considered the youngest Foreign Minister, I was even younger than 27 years old, until now – Monday, January 8, 1979 to August 22, 2023, I had done the job for 2,338 weeks, 16,297 days, 535 months, or 44 years in 7 months and 14 days.
(2) Out of power at an unprecedentedly high support
You can (see) me and my health. Although I went through a long period of time, I still have the ability to continue in the new term. In some countries, the Prime Minister is removed after the ballots of supports are down or they lost elections. In my case, at the highest turnout with unprecedentedly high votes of support in the history of the CPP, I left the post of Prime Minister. I am well aware of the morale of the Cambodian people that they still regret that I left my role.
(3) Have not left politics
I should take this opportunity to let the people know that although I have left the executive power, I have not left politics yet. I still have the opportunity to participate in nation building in my role as President of the ruling party and as a member of parliament. According to plan, harmoniously within the CPP, in February 2024, there will be Senate elections. It is possible that in March 2024 that I will become President of the Senate. I have not left our people. Let our people rest in assured. I understand the feelings of regret that people have when I left power as they enjoyed and progressed by my role.
It is, however, necessary to transfer (leadership from) the previous generation to the next generation at this time. Most of us are in our 70’s and/or over 70, and up to 80. It is best that we withdraw at an appropriate time like this and hand over the executive branch to the next generation. There have been some comments that Hun Sen only transferred position, but not power. That is the foolish comment of those who do not want to understand or is not knowledgeable. Power comes with position. I should teach that to commentators. Does (the law allow) Member of the Parliament to sign on behalf of the Prime Minister? Is there a law that allows the President of a political party to […] sign on behalf of the Prime Minister?
If they are with such ignorance, when can the CPP be defeated? I would just like to warn some commentators and analysts, and teach them to be more knowledgeable, lest at any time 20 years or in their next life they could be able to win the CPP. I am very pleased that our election process went well until the stage of convening the first session of the National Assembly under the presidency of HM the King.
(4) People voted in support for the successor and the successor is ready
Today, the National Assembly has established the leadership engine of the National Assembly, plus the that of the Royal Government, which is the greatest achievement for our nation. There are questions about why Hun Sen left now? Or why the previous generation leave now? I just want to emphasize that it is time for us to leave. I should say a few words. On the July 23, 2023 election, as the ballots counting was going on, I was having lunch with the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, who was visiting Cambodia and observing the election as well.
At that time, I did not want to know how many seats the CPP won. What I wanted to know the most was the percentage of votes (in general and for the CPP). That Sunday evening was the time for me to make a definite decision. Before that, we still had two scenarios. The first scenario is that the old generation continues for two or three years and will then hand over to the successor. The second scenario is that the successor starts at once. Why put two such scenarios? It is because I wanted to know if the people voted for the next generation or not. If the CPP support rate is lower than 74%, of course I will not yet resign.
When we get the information about the turnout rate increasing from 74% at the 2022 commune elections to 82% at the 2023 national elections, I accepted that it means that the people have already supported the rotation. It’s time to leave with the readiness of our next generation.
(5) At 45-year-old, with experience and knowledge, Prime Minister is not young
Compared to us who set out together in 1976 […] of course, among the top leaders at the time was 40 or 50 years old, the only exception was in my own case, when I was just 27 years of age. Later, there were new leaders, younger than the current 45-year-old prime minister. Do not forget that when I started in the position of Prime Minister, I was only 32 years old. This means that they are not young judging by the experience and the knowledge they have gained. It is not a coincidence, but a preparation. At least they have heard about this (transfer of power) since the end of 2021.
(6) Successors must carry the burden of the former generation
I think they are really capable of doing the remaining jobs. It is not just a matter of moving forward. The burden of the former generation is so heavy on the successors that they will continue to carry on those tasks. Of course, they need us in the position of legislative or Party leadership […] That some are talking about transferring position but not transferring power, it is a big mistake and shows their stupidity. That way to help the executive is to invite the executive to ask questions or give opinions by the legislature. The party’s way is to have a meeting and not to force the Prime Minister to sign.
(7) The new cabinet will be agile and active towards economic development
Given the composition of the new cabinet, I am confident that they will be quick to act towards our goal of 2030, making Cambodia a middle-income country and by 2050 will make Cambodia a high-income country. The burden they have to carry is very heavy. There are some tasks that they need to reform related to governance and other tasks that are on their agenda that I cannot (say) in their place.
(8) The new cabinet will be wary of Covid-19, global economic crisis, unilateral sanctions
I would like to take this opportunity to call on the people, civil servants, and the armed forces at all levels to continue to support the new government, as well as to contribute to the progress of the work. Hopefully our people understand the real situation that has been happening in the world and in Cambodia. The Covid-19 threat has not yet ended, as the global economic crisis, waged by war and unilateral sanctions are affecting the world, the region, as well as Cambodia, for which the new Cabinet must be wary.
(9) Speech of the President of the Senate would not bear a commanding character
Today I am becoming the father of the Prime Minister. A few hours ago, I was the Prime Minister. As I am speaking now, I am the father of the Prime Minister. You all have heard I said before that I will be the father of the Prime Minister. Now I have become one. Speaking of the Prime Minister’s father or the Prime Minister’s grandfather […] some say this country is a country of clans. I would like to emphasize that the Constitution does not prohibit the succession through the election for power […]
I see an article that reads, “Hun Sen’s speech has a commanding nature while “Manet’s speech has no commanding character.” From now on, you wait to see if Manet’s speech is commanding or not? If the Prime Minister’s speech is not giving order, it means that the Prime Minister does not know how to hold power. As for me, from now on, my speech is not a commanding speech, because I am now in a different role and position. As the President of the National Assembly or the President of the Senate or the President of the ruling party, there is no command in the speeches. But in the role of Prime Minister, speeches always point to relevant institutions do this or to do that. The speeches of the President of the National Assembly or the President of the Senate cannot indicate whether to do this or do that and costs this or that much money. This point is also a reminder to those who commented – “transfer only position, not transfer power,” which is a fool that should be corrected and they should learn more. I should just finish my brief introduction and leave the floor for you to ask me questions. Thank you.