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King’s Popularity Will Be on the Rise in 2017: Analyst

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, center, greets his government officials upon his arrival for the water festival in front of Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. The three-day annual festival, started Sunday, dedicates to the kingdom's ancestral naval warriors. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

The popularity of King Norodom Sihamoni will rise as young Cambodians seek to “protect their identity”.

The popularity of King Norodom Sihamoni will be on the rise in 2017 as young Cambodians seek to “protect their identity”, a leading analyst has said.

Ou Virak, founding president of the Future Forum, a think tank, said a desire among young Cambodians to “have national pride” would be augmented by “the rise of Facebook use.”

He told the Hello VOA radio program on Monday that this would lead to “the popularity of the king being much higher than in any other year.”

In the run up to elections this year, Virak added that “parties will show their support to the king and this will boost the popularity of the monarchy.”

Cambodia is due to hold commune elections on June 4.

Ahead of a general election in 2017, Virak said that political tensions would increase.

“At the 2017 election, everyone is keeping an eye on the results, which will be a crucial indication for the national elections in 2018, which is the most important one,” he said.