PHNOM PENH: Looking more avuncular than authoritarian, Cambodian premier Hun Sen crouches for a selfie for his Facebook page with young scouts — part of a social media blitz selling the strongman’s cuddlier side as he seeks to extend a 30-year grip on power.
The 63-year-old, a wily political survivor who defected from the Khmer Rouge to oversee Cambodia’s rise from the ashes of war, has vowed to remain prime minister until he is 74.
To do so he will need the support of Cambodia’s youth — a tech-savvy demographic whose votes may well be decisive in the next election, slated for 2018.
Two thirds of Cambodia’s 15 million population are aged under 30. Like their contemporaries everywhere they are avid users of social media — a sphere Hun Sen has until recently viewed with suspicion.