The Leaderboard: Prak Sokhonn


 Who is he?

Prak Sokhonn is currently Cambodia’s minister of posts and telecommunications, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to this position, he held a number of different posts in the government, including adviser to the prime minister, secretary of state of the office of council of ministers, and ambassador-at-large in Europe. He has also worked as an army journalist, and holds the rank of four-star general.

Prak Sokhonn of Cambodia. Source: Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Why is he in the news?

Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 16 nominated Prak Sokhonn to replace Hor Namhong as Cambodia’s minister of foreign affairs. Hor Namhong, who held the position for 17 years, resigned his position ahead of Hun Sen’s cabinet reshuffle, a move to increase efficiency after the “slow” and ineffectual performance from some ministries. Prak Sokhonn’s appointment will be made official on April 4.

What can we expect from him?

Prak Sokhonn’s move into the foreign ministry will probably not result in any major shift in Cambodia’s foreign policy. Prak Sokhonn, like his predecessor, is close to Hun Sen, having served as his personal adviser in several capacities since 1993. Previous reshuffles by Hun Sen resulted in little more than cosmetic changes. Many suspect this most recent shakeup is aimed at projecting the image of reform and good governance ahead of 2018 elections, while keeping the same group in positions of authority. Observers point out that Hor Namhong will retain his post as deputy prime minister. Major foreign policy positions, such as Cambodia’s close ties to China and reluctance to support ASEAN taking stronger stands against Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea maritime disputes, are unlikely to change.


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