Hun Sen Admits Leading Until Age 90 Unlikely

Breaking from a history of boasting about the potential longevity of his tenure as Cambodia’s leader, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday that he would likely have to retire sometime before he turns 90.

Speaking at Phnom Penh’s Chaktomuk Theater, Mr. Hun Sen, 62, who has served as premier for 30 years, derided the idea he could serve for another 30.

“Who can be prime minister until the age of 90? It’s impossible,” Mr. Hun Sen said.

He then recounted a speech he gave in 2007, when, in reaction to a newspaper article calling for him to retire, he vowed to stay in power until he is 90.

“I was in an angry mood at that time. I had said ‘I am still young,’ but one guy said ‘Mr. Hun Sen should not use age as the condition for [whether to enter] retirement,’” he recounted.

“At that time…I announced that I will be the prime minister until I am 90 because why was this guy coming to give me orders?”

Mr. Hun Sen most recently vowed to remain in power until he is 74 in a speech delivered in May 2013.

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