Cambodia’s ruling party declares landslide election victory

Cambodia’s ruling party declares landslide election victory

Southeast Asian nation criticized over alleged detention of political prisoners, exclusion of main opposition, 'political persecution'

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party said Monday that it has won a landslide victory in weekend parliamentary elections.

Preliminary results had indicated that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) was poised for another landslide victory after the election, with one-third of the votes counted, the Phnom Penh-based Khmer Times reported.

Hun Sen confirmed and praised the turnout figures, considering it a “blow” to opposition groups, including the Candlelight Party (CP).

“The Cambodian people have clearly shown their will by going to the polls in large numbers (over 84%) and voting for the CPP to win by a landslide to serve the people in the future,” he said in a message.

Sunday’s election was the seventh of its kind since 1993.

Cambodia held its seventh National Assembly elections on July 23. Over 8 million people, representing 84.58% of the country’s total registered voters, cast their votes.

The National Election Committee was tallying the results Sunday evening and planning to announce the official results on Aug. 9.

Aside from the long-ruling CPP, some 17 small parties also contested the elections, but none of Hun Sen’s opponents seriously challenged his decades-long leadership.

The CPP is expected to sweep all 125 seats in parliament to rule the Southeast Asian nation of over 16 million people for another five-year term.

The only challenger – the Candlelight Party – was disqualified in May from participating in the elections on technical grounds, a move blasted by the opposition.

But Hun Sen’s victory claim has invited sharp criticism.

“We call on parliamentarians of democratic countries across the world to use their legislative mandate in parliament to unequivocally denounce the 2023 electoral exercise in Cambodia as undemocratic,” said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.

“We must pressure the Cambodian government to end all forms of political persecution and immediately and unconditionally release political prisoners. There must also be an independent investigation into human rights violations and electoral irregularities to ensure accountability,” it added.

Former Khmer Rouge guerrilla Hun Sen, 70, has led Cambodia for 38 years. He is expected to hand the premiership to his oldest son, Hun Manet, who heads the country’s army.

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