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New Cambodian Cabinet to Feature Children of the Powerful

FILE - Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni, front center, poses with the nation's lawmakers during a photo session in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Outgoing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has unveiled a list of people expected to feature in a new cabinet, including several sons and daughters of close allies and serving ministers.

Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for nearly four decades, is in the process of handing over power to his son, Hun Manet, after their Cambodian People's Party swept an election last month from which the main opposition was barred.

The 71-year-old on Thursday nominated about 50 people for his son's cabinet, many of whom are directly related to ministers and senior officials in his administration.

Hun Sen did not specify what positions they would hold. The rubber-stamp parliament is set to approve the new prime minister and cabinet on Aug. 22.

Among those expected to be in the new cabinet are Cham Nimul, daughter of industry minister Cham Prasidh, Sar Sokha, son of interior minister Sar Kheng and Tea Seiha, son of defense minister Tea Banh.

While giving up the job of prime minister, Hun Sen looks set to remain engaged with government.

He has said he will become head of the upper house Senate, meaning he will be acting head of state when the king is away, and he will lead the ruling party.

He also recently said he would step back into the prime minister's job if his son did not perform well.

Western-educated Hun Manet, 45, has said little about his vision for Cambodia, which, under his father's rule, developed into what the World Bank calls a lower middle-income country but at the cost of what critics say has been the trampling of human rights.

Hun Sen's government has rejected accusations of rights abuses as well as of corruption and nepotism.

This week, Hun Sen announced that Khuon Sodary had been designated as president of the National Assembly, the first woman to hold the position.