Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. Photographer: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party on Sunday claimed a landslide victory in a general election that critics widely dismissed as a sham aimed at consolidating the party’s rule before an expected transfer of power to his eldest son.
Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), with a political barrel with a large warhead, faces no potential opponent after years of ruthlessly suppressing its rivals.
The polls ended with an 84% voter turnout, according to the electoral commission, with 8.1 million people voting in a much-criticized contest between the CPP and 17 largely obscure parties, none of which won seats in the last 2018 election.
The only opponent with any real influence is not worth running.
“We have achieved great success … but we cannot count the number of seats yet,” said CPP spokesman Sok Eysan.
Hun Sen, the self-styled strongman who has ruled Cambodia for 38 years, has shrugged off all Western concerns about the credibility of the election, determined to prevent any obstacles to a carefully measured transition to his anointed successor and eldest son, Hun Manet.
No time frame for the handover was given until Thursday, when Hun Sen signaled that his son “could become prime minister” next month, depending on whether “Hun Manet can do it or not.” He had to win a National Assembly seat to become Prime Minister.
Hun Sen’s turnout – the second-highest in three decades – proved unsuccessful in calls by his mostly foreign-based rivals to undermine the election with anti-votes.