See More on Facebook

News, Politics

Cambodia goes to the polls on July 29

Cambodians will go to the polls on Sunday (July 29) to choose their next leader in an election few believe to be fair.


Written by

Updated: July 27, 2018

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to easily win another five years in power, having ruled the country for over 30 years.

His Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will be facing off against 19 other parties in the upcoming election, some small and little-known, and none believed to pose a significant threat to the strongman’s power.

The CPP was earlier expected to face a fierce challenge from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which had performed better than expected in Cambodia’s last general election in 2013, winning 44 per cent of the vote.

However, the party’s leader, Kem Sokha, was abruptly arrested in October last year on charges of treason for allegedly plotting a “colour revolution” to overthrow the government with the help of the United States. The party itself was disbanded the following month and its seats in the National Assembly divided between other parties, sparking international outrage.

Funcinpec, the largest party with the CNRP out of the race, holds 41 seats in the National Assembly, a little over half the number held by the CPP, and its leader, former Prime Minister and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was severely injured in a car crash last month.

The government has also cracked down on independent and critical media organisations, many of which were forced to close. English-language paper, The Cambodia Daily, was among the organisations shuttered after it failed to pay an exorbitant $6.3 million in back taxes.

Widespread concerns about the legitimacy of the election have led some foreign backers, including the US and European Union, to withdraw funding. Others, including China, have continued to support it.

Japan announced on Wednesday that it will not be sending observers to monitor the election, despite having provided millions in aid to the National Election Committee (NEC) previously, The Phnom Penh Post reported.

Commenting on Japan’s decision in a Facebook post, Sam Rainsy, an exiled former leader of the CNRP, asserted that “only a small group of communist and authoritarian countries, which have interests in supporting Hun Sen’s killing of democracy in Cambodia, could endorse this sham election.”

“Japan’s withdrawal will alert those who still intend to go to vote [and] prompt them to re-consider and boycott this fake election like the vast majority of the Cambodian people who will do so because they love democracy, freedom and justice,” he said.

The NEC said Japan’s move was “just diplomatic language to avoid being in the top position facilitating the election in Cambodia,” and pointed out that over 160,000 representatives of political parties and NGOs will be monitoring the polls alongside 900 national and international journalists and 213 foreign observers, The Phnom Penh Post reported.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News, Politics

Abe wins 3rd term as president of ruling LDP

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was reelected president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for a third consecutive term on Thursday. “I will put all my strength and soul into fulfilling my duty,” Abe said after his victory. A total of 810 votes were cast in the LDP presidential poll, half by Diet lawmakers and half by rank-and-file party members. After securing the support of five LDP factions, led respectively by Hiroyuki Hosoda, Taro Aso, Fumio Kishida, Toshihiro Nikai and Nobuteru Ishihara, Abe won 329 of the 405 votes from LDP lawmakers, against 73 votes for Ishiba. Voting from rank-and-file party members closed on Wednesday. Abe won 224 votes of the 405 votes available from rank-and-file party members, while Ishiba won 181. At a press conference later on the same day, Abe said he intends to reshu


By The Japan News
September 21, 2018

News, Politics

A land with no smiles

The Thai middle class’ Faustian bargain with the military is hampering true democracy in the country. Almost ten years ago, I met a protester on the streets of Bangkok. It was a time of protest and political instability with the drama between the government and protesters spilling out onto the streets. To protect his identity against possible military reprisal, let us call him Nadech. Nadech will unlikely be recorded in history books, he was not a political leader, nor a despotic general or any other archetype of Thai history. He was a simple junk-store hawker, an occupation that involves going from house to house and sorting garbage to sell. His family had done well enough through grit and hard work to open a small convenience store in his home province. Nadech had taken to the streets in 2010 because he had believed the promises that exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had made and had seen, fi


By Cod Satrusayang
September 21, 2018

News, Politics

New airport construction adds to China’s influence in the Maldives

Maldives airport opened a new runway constructed by China this week, a sign of Beijing’s growing influence on the island nation. Maldives airport opened its newly developed Code F runway at the Velana International Airport on Tuesday after two years of construction by Chinese firms. According to Chinese state media, the new runway is a milestone project of the Belt and Road Initiative. The contract for the airport expansion, including the development of the fuel farm, a cargo terminal, and the new runway, was signed between China and the Maldives in 2014, Xinhua News Agency reported. Constructed by Beijing Urban Construction Group, a large international construction group based in China, the new runway is 3,400 meters long and 60 meters wide. It is the latest push by China to gain influence over the politically troubled nation. Earlier this year, Maldivian President Abdulla Y


By Cod Satrusayang
September 20, 2018

News, Politics

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif released from jail

Nawaz Sharif and his family were released from Adiala jail on Wednesday after the Islamabad High Court suspended their respective prison sentences in the Avenfield corruption case earlier in the day. PML-N Pr


By Dawn
September 20, 2018

News, Politics

El Salvador ups pressure on Taiwan relations

Prosecutors in El Salvador to investigate the alleged graft of some $10 million in funds donated by Taiwan. El Salvador announced it would sever ties with Taiwan and switch its allegiance to Beijing on 21th August. The loss of the Central American country reduces the number of Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies to just 17. Now the current president of El Salvador, Sanchez Ceren, is accused that he won the election by relying on partial fund which was donated by Taiwan in 2014. Prosecutor Douglas Melendez said in a TV interview that Taiwan gave $38 million to El Salvador for various projects, but the fund was used in a partisan campaign by Mauricio Funes in election won by current President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the presidential candidate of the FMLN party in 2014. The FMLN party calling the accusations “baseless” and accusing Melendez of “attacking our candidate and o


By Asia News Network
September 20, 2018

News, Politics

Former Malaysian Prime Minister arrested, to be charged

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been arrested in connection with the deposit of RM2.6bil of 1MDB funds into his personal account. In a statement, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) said the arrest was made at 4.13pm at its headquarters in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Sept 19). The MACC said that the former prime minister will be detained overnight and brought to court to face several charges under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court at 3pm on Thursday (Sept 20). The MACC will also cooperate with the police to record Najib’s statement before he is taken to court tomorrow. ” This is to help their investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001,” it said. Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reports that Najib’ daughter, Nooryana Najwa, is worried t


By The Star
September 20, 2018