Hun Sen Biography
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Samdech Hun Sen
Born in: Stueng Trang District
Famous as: Prime Minister of Cambodia
political ideology: Political party-Cambodian People's Party
Spouse/Ex-: Bun Rany
father: Hun Neang
mother: Dee Yon
children: Hun Kamsot, Hun Mali, Hun Malis, Hun Mana, Hun Manet, Hun Mani, Hun Manit
education: Iowa Wesleyan College, California Southern University,National Academy of Public Administration
With both supporters and detractors, politicians can be extremely polarizing figures. Among these, Hun Sen, the 34th and current Prime Minister of Cambodia, is perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on the political stage. Marking his 30th year in power last January, he is the country's longest serving head of government and one of the longest serving leaders in the world. His ascent to the most powerful political position in Cambodia is fraught with violence, corruption and scandal, counting him among some of the most infamous leaders on the world stage. His violent political path to Prime Minister began in his teenage years when he left his studies at a Buddhist monastery to become a member of the communist Khmer Rouge. Bright and ambitious, the young man quickly rose among the ranks. In his tenure as Prime Minister of Cambodia, he has proven to be intelligent, cunning and quite manipulative. Opponents to his rule have accused his regime of resorting to torture by using electroshock and hot irons on political prisoners of the former Khmer Rouge Battalion Commander. History has shown that Hun Sen will stop at nothing to maintain an iron grip on his position of power. To know more about his life and works read on
- Hun Sen was born on August 5, 1952 in Kampong Cham, a city northeast of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. His official birth name was Hun Bunal.
- As a child, he attended a local primary school and worked in agriculture. In 1965, he left home to attend a Buddhist monastic school in Phnom Penh.
- In 1969, a year before graduation, he abandoned his studies. He joined the Khmer Rouge a year later and changed his name to Hun Sen.
- He is the third of seven children born to peasant farmers. One of his siblings died before he was born. His mother, Dee Yon, died from an illness in 1998 at age 79.
- His father, Hun Neang, was a monk at a local vat before defrocking himself to join the French resistance. He died in July 12, 2013 at the age of 89 after battling health issues.
- In 1970, he joined the ‘Khmer Rouge’ after the Cambodian military ousted Prince Norodom Sihanouk. After just two weeks of training, he was appointed as platoon leader on April 30th.
- In 1971, he became a member of the 'Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) Youth League.' From then on, he moved rapidly up the ranks and turned into one of the most prominent names of the party.
- On April 16, 1975, he lost an eye in the battle for Phnom Penh. The ‘Khmer Rouge’ won and he was made Chief of Staff of an autonomous special regiment in the East Zone.
- In a growing rift with ‘Pol Pot’, who demanded more self-destructive attacks on Vietnamese villages, he and other eastern zone leaders fled to Vietnam in 1977. They escaped internal purges in the ‘Khmer Rouge’.
- On January 10, 1979, he became Foreign Minister in the Vietnamese-installed 'People's Republic of Kampuchea/State of Cambodia’ after the ‘Khmer Rouge’ regime was overthrown.
- On January 14, 1985, he was elected Chairman of the 'Council of Ministers' and subsequently the Prime Minister. The former chairman Chan Sy’s death the previous month had left the position open and it gradually passed on to Hun Sen.
- During the 1993 elections, he was outpolled by the 'Royalist Party' of Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Hun Sen refused to step down and, as a result, an agreement was implemented. He was named Second Prime Minister and the prince as First Prime Minister.
- On July 1997, he launched the violent '1997 Cambodian Coup' in which he deposed Prince Ranariddh and replaced him with Ung Hout as first Prime Minister. Hun Sen won election the following year, again becoming Cambodia's sole Prime Minister.
- On September 25, 2008, after winning the general elections, he was re-elected as Prime Minister for the next five-year term. In 2013, he declared his intention to rule Cambodia until he is 74. The decision stirred up dissent, as the opposition party also claimed to have won the election.
- Following the national leader’s declaration stating his unwillingness to part with his authority, the ‘Cambodian National Rescue Party’ along with other protest groups organized peaceful rallies in Phnom Penh.
- They demanded re-elections because allegedly the July 28, 2013 elections were unfair. The protests garnered the attention of United Nations which condemned Sen’s use of power to dissipate the peaceful protestors.
- Hun Sen was an essential figure in the '1991 Paris Peace Talks.' On October 23, 1991, the Cambodian factions of the 'Supreme National Council,' along with Vietnam and 15 member nations of the 'International Peace Conference' on Cambodia, signed the 'Paris Peace Agreement,' marking the official end of the 'Cambodian-Vietnamese War.'
- Under his leadership, Cambodia became the 10th member of the 'Association of South-East Asian Nations' (ASEAN) in 1999. The organization promotes political and economic cooperation and regional stability.
- On December 02, 1996 the 'World Peace Academy' presented him with the 'World Peace Award.' He was bestowed three titles: ‘Human Cultural Asset’, ‘Roving Ambassador for Peace’, and ‘World Peace Congressman’.
- On September 06, 2005 'Sri Chinmoy Centers International' presented him with its highest award, the 'U Thant Peace Award,' for his role in the progression of Cambodia and the entire 'ASEAN' nations.
- In 1975, he married Bun Rany, a public health official and director of a Khmer Rouge hospital. The couple has six children.
- His eldest son, Manet, is a Lieutenant General in the 'Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.' His youngest child, Malis, was adopted.
- In 1987, 'Amnesty International' accused him of torturing thousands of political prisoners. Iron bars and rubber hoses were among the tools used to accomplish the tasks.
- He reportedly had an affair with actress Piseth Peaklica. In July 1999, the woman was gunned down as she shopped at a market in Phnom Penh. Rumors swirled that First Lady Bun Rany had ordered her assassination.
- According to Brad Adams, Asia Director at 'Human Rights Watch,' a U.S. State Department official told him in 2002 that Hun Sen's estimated net worth was $500 million. The Prime Minister dislikes talking about his personal wealth.
How To Cite
People Also Viewed