NOM PEN ( Associated Press) – Officials in Cambodia on Sunday confirmed the victory of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party in this month’s local elections.
The National Election Commission reported that the Cambodian People’s Party received 74.3% of the vote, compared to 22.3% against the opposition Candle Light Party. This means that the PPC won 1,652 districts and Luz de la Vela in the other four.
The PPC has been in power for decades and controls almost all branches of government. The opposition is less organized, has fewer resources and lives in fear of intimidation.
Hun Sen of authoritarian tendencies, although Cambodia is nominally democratic, has been in power for 37 years. He has indicated that he plans to remain in office until 2028, and has anointed one of his sons as his successor.
The local elections, held a year before the general elections, are considered a test of the strength of the parties.
The Election Commission said 80.19 percent of the country’s 9.2 million registered voters cast their votes.
Candlelight is unofficially the successor of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, which achieved a strong second-place result in the 2017 local elections.
After those elections and before 2018, the party was dissolved by the Supreme Court on the contentious argument that it was involved in acts of sedition.
The court’s decision sacked officials who were members of the party, which was banned from participating in the 2018 elections. Thus, Hun Sen’s party completely won the National Assembly.
The ruling party and the National Election Commission have announced that they will sue Luz de la Vela’s vice-president Son Chay, for comments he made in an interview that denounced the election was not fair.
Son Chhay condemned that the Election Commission was biased in favor of the ruling party and vote buying and electoral intimidation abounded. Both the government and the Election Commission rejected the allegations.
His aides said Son Chay, who has dual Cambodian-Australian nationality, left the country when the charges were filed.