ALONG the banks of the swollen Mekong, aspiring politicians lead small convoys of vehicles through the countryside. Loudspeakers in the backs of pickups blast the local population with promises. Party volunteers, some with small children, hop off scooters to hand stickers to prospective voters. The activity is reaching fever pitch: more than 8m Cambodians are eligible to cast ballots in a national election on July 29th. Up for grabs are the 125 seats in Cambodia’s National Assembly, its lower house of parliament. Yet the outcome is hardly in doubt—not least because the ruling party has abolished the main opposition. The prime minister, Hun Sen, in power since 1985, will rule as the country’s strongman for a while longer.