TOKYO — With less than three weeks to go for the July 23 general election in Cambodia, the outcomes are all too predictable. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had already taken action to ensure that his rule would continue long before the official campaign period kicked off on July 1.
In May, the country’s National Election Committee announced the names of all 18 parties contesting the election, including Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), but the country’s main opposition Candlelight Party (CP) was not among them. The committee disqualified the CP, citing its failure to submit proper documents. The Constitutional Council rejected an appeal by the opposition party.
Cambodia’s election committee and judiciary are both under the control of the ruling party, which is using every possible means to bar forces critical of the government from the national election and ensure a smooth transition of power from Hun Sen to army chief Hun Manet, his eldest son.