Cambodia’s sixth general election came and went on July 29. Unsurprisingly, Hun Sen, the world’s longest ruling prime minister (33 years and counting) and the ruling CPP won in a landslide. The result was never in doubt given the crackdown on civil society and independent press leading up to the election. This culminated in the dissolution of the main opposition party, the CNRP, last November with its leader thrown in jail on bogus treason charges. Hun Sen now has more power than he has ever had. But in the country, the worry now is what will happen next?
After the CNRP was disbanded last year, the US imposed visa bans on senior Cambodian officials, while the the EU said it would review its trade agreement with Cambodia. In June 2018, Hing Bun Heang, chief of Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, was sanctioned under Global Magnitsky Designations. A few days before the election, the US House of Representatives passed the Cambodia Democracy Act to target sanctions on individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Cambodia. After the election, Washington called the electoral process “flawed” and said it could take “additional steps.” While the EU stated that the electoral process was not legitimate.More