Cambodian opposition party officials arrested for allegedly encouraging casting of spoiled ballots

Two senior members of the only major functioning opposition party in Cambodia have been arrested for allegedly teaching voters how to cast a spoiled ballot in this month’s general election, their party and a government spokesperson said Saturday.

They are the first people to be arrested under the country’s recently amended election law. It penalizes politicians who encourage election boycotts in a country where the party of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for 38 years, is running virtually unopposed.

The Candlelight Party, the only other contender capable of mounting a credible challenge in the July 23 election, was barred on a technicality from contesting the polls by the National Election Committee. Its decision was widely seen as political.

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