Cambodia’s exiled opposition leaders have launched the ‘clean finger’ campaign which calls for a boycott of the general election scheduled on July 29, 2018. Typically, an indelible ink is placed on the finger of voters on election day which means those who fail to vote, have a clean finger. Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the main opposition party, was disbanded by the Supreme Court on November 2017 after the ruling party accused it of conspiring with foreign powers in an attempt to topple the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
CNRP leader Kem Sokha was arrested and continues to remain under detention in the country while the party’s other top leaders were forced to flee the country to avoid prosecution. CNRP members in parliament were removed from office and banned from holding public office for five years.
CNRP got a significant share of votes in the 2013 general election and in the 2017 local council election. The CNRP’s dissolution will most likely allow Hun Sen’s party to beat smaller parties which have been accredited to participate in the coming election. Hun Sen and the ruling party have been in power since 1985.
Aside from removing the main opposition, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is also accused of undermining the press in recent months.