Cambodia PM Hun Sen will shut down opposition on election day – even if he can no longer threaten voters on Facebook

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will no longer be able to use his Facebook page to air threats of violence against opposition supporters – but that doesn’t mean he can’t still suppress their vote as the country prepares for a general election.

On June 30, 2023, the Facebook page of Hun Sen – who has ruled the country as leader of the Cambodian People’s Party for almost four decades – appeared to have been deleted. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hun Sen had removed the page or Meta had taken it down. But it follows a recommendation by the oversight board of Facebook’s parent company to “immediately suspend Hun Sen’s Facebook page and Instagram account for six months” over a video in which he calls on political opponents who allege vote-rigging to choose between the “legal system” and “a bat.” In the video posted on Facebook on Jan. 9, Hun Sen also threatens to “gather CPP people to protest and beat (opposition) up.”

The decision comes as a slap in the face for Hun Sen, who had regularly posted on Facebook to his 14 million followers. But as an expert on Cambodian politics, I know it will do little to affect the result of the general election scheduled for July 23, 2023. Cambodia has had Hun Sen as prime minister for 38 years. And recent events have only tightened Hun Sen’s grip on power.

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