Cambodia election: strongman Hun Sen wins again

Cambodia election: strongman Hun Sen wins again

Cambodia election: strongman Hun Sen wins again

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Sunday's vote "failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people".

CPP, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, won more than 100 of the 125 seats in Parliament, a party spokesman said.

"The CPP won 77.5 percent of the votes and won all the parliamentary seats", CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said by telephone.

Critics say the election is a backward step for democracy in Cambodia, marred by intimidation by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the dissolution a year ago of the main opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the jailing of its leader, Kem Sokha, on treason charges.

Police arrested and charged one of its leaders with treason and the Supreme Court later banned the party.

Exiled leaders of the CNRP had called for a boycott of the vote, prompting the government to warn that anyone who did not participate would be seen as a "traitor".

This week Japan said it would not send observers to the election despite doing so in numerous elections in the past.

Cambodia's Prime Minister and President of the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Hun Sen casts his vote at a polling station during a general election in Takhmao.

Meas Ny also suggested that the number of invalid ballots may have been higher than what the NEC announced.

However, analysis by the Asia Times reveals that of the 6,850,612 votes cast in the election, 587,137 - or 8.57% - were spoiled ballots, according to figures as of 5am Monday morning.

Almost 70 percent cast their ballot during the last general election in 2013.

Hun Sen shows his inked-marked finger after casting his vote during the general election as his wife Bun Rany (left) looks on in Phnom Penh on Sunday.

Protesters in Washington said more threats would not deter people from spoiling the ballot or boycotting the election.

Voters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital and an opposition stronghold, were less susceptible to such threats due to their higher visibility and safety in numbers. Results include counts from most, but not all, communes.

There were numerous pictures of spoilt ballots on social media on Sunday.

Nineteen minor parties took part in the election. Some voters even drew the sunrise logo of the CNRP at the top of the paper.

Hun Sen first became prime minister in 1985, during a time when guerrilla warfare plagued the country.

Noan Sereiboth, a political blogger, says this month's election feels like another "non-stop backward [step] for our democracy".

In a statement on his Facebook page, former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, who is living in exile overseas, said "a victory without a contest is a hollow one".

The Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to requests for comment.

Less stern attempts were also made to entice people to show up at the ballot booths. "Some need to vote because they want to have the indelible ink on their index finger and are afraid of the consequences of not voting".

There had been reports during the campaign of threats against anyone who planned to boycott the vote.

Instead, many chose to turn up to the ballot stations to receive an inked finger but purposefully invalidate their ballots.

Official election results are reportedly not expected until mid-August.

"For the Cambodian people, unable to make a real choice because of the absence of the CNRP, the result of this false election conducted in a climate of fear is a betrayal of the popular will", he posted.

Some analysts and CNRP leaders argue this year's voter turnout numbers are likely inflated given the lack of independent electoral monitors.

She said in a statement:"Genuine democracies tolerate opposing political views, foster competition through elections, and promote and protect the free exchange of ideas". Turnout was 90 per cent in the 2017 local election and 69.61 per cent in the previous general election in 2013.

Experts say high turnouts are common in authoritarian states where voter intimidation is more widespread.

The one outlier is Siem Reap province.

"We separate the election process into two phases".

Both the CPP and NEC refuted all claims that any aspects of the vote had been manipulated or forced, and rejected the conclusions of the U.S. and others.

Eysan said political parties had no authority to announce the number of seats they believed they had won, but according to the NEC's unofficial calculations, the ruling party had won comfortably and no other party could win a single seat.

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