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Cambodian business world shrugs off political crackdown

Execs signal confidence as opposition dissolved, but unrest simmers

Police officers stand guard at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on Nov. 16, during a hearing prior to the ruling to dissolve the main opposition party.   © Reuters

PHNOM PENH -- As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen tightens the screws on democracy to secure a resounding win at next year's election, the country's business community has struck a grimly defiant tone amid political convulsions and controversy. Some analysts, however, warn that Hun Sen's bullying tactics to destroy the opposition and snuff out dissent could be creating a false sense of stability amid simmering tensions.

In recent months, the Cambodian strongman has taken direct aim at obstacles that could cause him problems at the polls and lead to a rerun of the last election, in 2013. That year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party came close to ousting Hun Sen's ruling party, gaining 44.46% of the popular vote, a result mirrored in local elections earlier this year.

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