Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won a recent landslide victory in the Southeast Asian country. After outlawing the main opposition party that challenged the ruling CPP, Hun Sen secured more than 80 per cent of the popular vote and well over 100 of the 125 contested seats in the National Assembly. Despite calls to boycott the election, voter turnout was around 82 per cent, or about 6.88 million people. The response from the international community has been split. Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States have expressed “profound disappointment” with the lack of opposition participation. Regional countries and populist European leaders, on the other hand, have endorsed the result.
The re-election of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his CPP contributes to the growing global democratic crisis. The government has taken advantage of the retreat of leading democracies to use blatant repression to suppress opponents, stifle media freedom and compromise rules-based institutions.
With the advent of digital technology and increased social media use in Cambodia, the government has also turned to “sharp power” to manipulate information, target crucial democratic institutions to exert control and change public opinion.
Full Article: How Cambodia’s prime minister rigged an election.