Cambodian Government Intensifies Repression Ahead of National Vote

This Sunday’s national election will function as a prelude to the expected handover of power from Prime Minister Hun Sen to his eldest son.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen is ramping up the pressure on the country’s beleaguered opposition forces as the country moves to a national election on Sunday, despite the near-total lack of opposition to his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Much of the government’s efforts over the past week have been directed at members of opposition parties who are advocating for voters to submit spoiled or invalid ballots as a form of political protest.

Since July 14, the Cambodian authorities have arrested four members of the opposition Candlelight Party (CLP), which has been barred from taking part in the election on bogus administrative grounds, for advocating an election boycott. On Monday, it also fined 17 exiled opposition politicians for doing the same and banned them from holding elected office for at least 20 years. These included the party’s former president, Sam Rainsy, and six other members of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was outlawed ahead of the 2018 election.

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