UPDATE - Polling for Cambodian national election closes

UPDATE - Polling for Cambodian national election closes

Premier Hun Sen's party expected to clinch easy victory

UPDATES AS POLLS CLOSE; CHANGES IN HEADLINE, BODY

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - Voting in Cambodia's national elections closed on Sunday afternoon with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) expected to rake in a landslide victory.

The national vote, which critics see as the least free and fair in decades, started at 7 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) and continued until 3 p.m. (0800 GMT). Initial results are expected in the next few hours.

According to the National Election Commission, there were more than 9.7 million eligible voters nationwide.

The incumbent premier cast his ballot in Kandal province’s Takhmao town, just outsides the capital. “I’ve cast my vote,” he tweeted.

Aside from the long-ruling CPP, some 17 small parties also contested in the elections, but none of Hun Sen's opponents pose a serious challenge to his decades-long leadership.

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

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

The former Khmer Rouge guerrilla, 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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