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Hun Sen's Cambodia

Garment workers pressured to vote in looming Cambodia elections

Voters apathetic after opposition party outlawed; turnout will hint at legitimacy

PHNOM PENH -- With Cambodia's national elections fast approaching, garment workers who had largely backed the opposition in the last poll say they are being coerced to vote and face hostility if they abstain, as the ruling party tries to paint the ballot as democratic.

Few groups have received Prime Minister Hun Sen's attention like the 700,000-strong garment sector. Many of these workers voted for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party in 2013 and took part in post-election protests that led to the deaths of at least five people when security forces fired into the crowds. The CNRP, the only realistic threat to Hun Sen's 33-year reign, was outlawed last year.

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