Cambodia’s ruling party claims landslide victory in unilateral elections By Reuters


© Reuters. Hun Maneh, son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaks during the final election campaign of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for the upcoming general election in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 21, 2023. REUTERS/Cindy Liu


Written by Prak Chan Thule

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party claimed a landslide victory in the general election on Sunday, in a vote critics widely described as a sham aimed at solidifying party rule ahead of the expected transfer of power to his eldest son.

The competition was practically a one-horse race, with Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party, a political titan with a massive war chest, facing no viable opponent after a years-long crackdown on his rivals.

The polls closed with a turnout of 84% according to the Electoral Commission, with 8.1 million people voting in a much-criticised contest between the CPP and 17 mostly obscure parties, none of which won seats in the last election in 2018.

The only opponent with real clout was disqualified from running.

“We won overwhelmingly…but we can’t count the number of seats yet,” said CPP spokesman Sok Esan.

The self-proclaimed powerful Hun Sen, who ruled Cambodia for 38 years, ignored all Western concerns about the election’s credibility and decided to block any snag in his carefully orchestrated transition to his designated successor and eldest son, Hun Maneh.

No time frame was set for the delivery until Thursday, when Hun Sen indicated his son “may” be prime minister next month, depending on “whether Hun Maneh is able to do it or not.” He needed to win a seat in the National Assembly to become Prime Minister, which was likely.

Hun Sen said the turnout – the second highest in three decades – proved that calls by his overseas-based rivals to undermine the election with protest votes had failed.

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