Cambodian political parties began a three-week election campaign period on Saturday that saw Prime Minister Hun Sen make pledges to conduct reforms. The campaigning got underway in the absence of the country’s main opposition party, which was banned by the Supreme Court late last year and will not be able to field any candidates to contest seats in the July 29 election. Speaking to thousands of supporters in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen, the leader of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, vowed to end political divides in the country and use development to bring Cambodians out of poverty.
Cambodia: Cambodia claims its election will be fair. Civil society says otherwise | Asian Correspondent
Liberal, pluralistic, democratic, peaceful, free, fair, and non-violent. These were the words used by a Cambodian state-affiliated press office to describe how the government will conduct the general election scheduled to take place on July 29, 2018. Campaigning starts on July 7. A video produced by the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers even boasted that the upcoming election “could be considered one of the best Election (sic) in Cambodia’s history.” The video was likely intended to address the criticism from local and global civil society groups with respect to the deteriorating state of democracy in Cambodia. The Cambodian People’s Party has been in power for 33 years under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is considered to be Southeast Asia’s longest-serving head of state.
Republican leaders and election officials from both parties on Sunday sought to combat claims by Donald J. Trump that the election is rigged against him, amid signs that Mr. Trump’s contention is eroding confidence in the vote and setting off talk of rebellion among his supporters. In a vivid illustration of how Mr. Trump is shattering American political norms, the Republican nominee is alleging that a conspiracy is underway between the news media and the Democratic Party to commit vast election fraud. He has offered no evidence to support his claim. “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Mr. Trump made the incendiary assertion hours after his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, tried to play down Mr. Trump’s questioning of the fairness of the election. Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and Mr. Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.”