New Cambodia PM debuts at U.N. amid crackdown on opponents

Hun Manet says democracy has 'steadily advanced' in New York speech.

Cambodia’s recent election, widely panned after the main opposition party was banned from competing, was “free and fair,” the country’s new prime minister, Hun Manet, told world leaders on Friday in his debut speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

In his 15-minute address, the 45-year-old leader focused on Cambodia’s “peace and stability” and “economic growth,” themes long espoused by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) under his father, Hun Sen, who stepped down in August after 38 years in power.

Manet claimed Cambodia’s “democratic building process has steadily advanced” and pointed to voter turnout of 84% in July’s election as “a clear indication of our people’s greater political maturity and enthusiasm in exercising their democratic rights.”

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