Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Returns to Facebook Ahead of Election

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia :

After a three-week hiatus, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's Facebook account was reactivated on Thursday, marking his return to the social media platform. Previously, he had announced his departure from Facebook in favor of the messaging app Telegram, which also serves as a blogging tool.

The timing of Hun Sen's return is noteworthy, as it comes just three days before a general election, where his ruling Cambodian People's Party is anticipated to secure a sweeping victory.

In June, Hun Sen had declared his decision to cease posting new content on his Facebook page, opting instead to utilize Telegram for what he believed to be a more effective means of communication. However, when a Facebook watchdog criticized the language in one of his videos and suggested suspending the prime minister's account for six months, Hun Sen opted to deactivate the page altogether.

Duong Dara, the individual managing the social media accounts of the 70-year-old leader, issued a statement on Thursday, expressing his plea to Hun Sen for permission to reactivate the Facebook page in the national interest. He clarified that he would be the one uploading content, not the prime minister himself.

"I created this page 'Samdech Hun Sen, Cambodian Prime Minister,' for him to use for communicating with the Cambodian people, both inside and outside the country, especially to directly hear from them about their situation via requests and comments on his page," Duong Dara explained. "Because I saw the importance of this social media network, I decided to create this page for him to use for the benefit of the country."

Hun Sen's return to Facebook could potentially impact the election dynamics and communication strategies as the nation heads to the polls. The platform remains a significant channel for political engagement and outreach, and the reactivation of his account signifies the relevance and influence of social media in Cambodia's political landscape.