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The Nikkei View

Cambodian election gives democracy a bad name

By holding a vote without the main opposition, Hun Sen shows his autocratic colors

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen prepares to cast his vote on July 29. Monitors from Japan, the U.S. and the European Union were notably absent from the general election. (Reuters)

The ruling Cambodian People's Party, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, won a landslide victory in the July 29 general election. However, given that the CPP dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party ahead of the polls, the vote can hardly be called legitimate. What we are seeing is a token democracy, which is entirely unacceptable.

The United Nations helped introduce a democratic election system in the Southeast Asian country in 1993 after the Cambodian civil war ended. Nevertheless, the latest general election, the country's sixth overall, only served to reinforce the de facto autocracy of Hun Sen, who has remained in power for 33 years.

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