Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen enters the new year with three solid achievements as the ruling Cambodian People's Party heads into parliamentary elections in July.
Over the past three months, he has emerged as a strong defender of Cambodian royalty, vowing to protect the throne and the royal family following the death of King Father Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing in October.
In addition to seven days of official mourning, plans are now underway for an elaborate cremation next month, the first such royal funeral in 50 years.
At the same time, Hun Sen has initiated a youth volunteer system to help resolve land disputes, offering a chance to connect with the five million Cambodians under the age of 30.
Youth account for about 50 per cent of the country's nine million voters and are an important support base for the ruling party.
Hun Sen has also successfully concluded his second chairmanship of Asean, hosting not only a summit of Southeast Asian leaders but also a wider gathering including leaders from eight other countries in East Asia.
Along with the Sultan of Brunei, he is now recognised as one of the undisputed elder statesmen of Southeast Asia.
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