Cambodia: Sham election designed to prolong Hun Sen’s authoritarian rule

Press release

(Paris) The results of Cambodia’s 29 July general election are the foregone conclusion of a sham process that will pave the way for five more years of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarian rule, FIDH said today.

“Hun Sen’s repression of any peaceful criticism, his obliteration of independent media, and the dissolution of the main opposition party have ensured that the election will not be credible. Cambodia’s election is a sham process that is designed to prolong Hun Sen’s authoritarian rule and will plunge the country into further misery and repression.”

Debbie Stothard, FIDH Secretary-General

While 20 political parties are expected to compete for the 125 seats in the National Assembly, the lead-up to voting day has created an environment that is not conducive to a genuine, inclusive, or participatory electoral process that complies with minimum internationally-recognized election standards.

During the past two years, the Cambodian government has overseen a campaign of intimidation, legal persecution, and attacks against members of the opposition and civil society. The government has taken extreme measures to ensure the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) would run virtually unopposed in the upcoming election. These measures included: the dissolution of the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the ban on politics for 118 of its officials; the ongoing detention of CNRP leader Kem Sokha, which the United Nations (UN) declared arbitrary in April 2018; the jailing of at least 18 other opposition members and supporters; and the adoption of repressive amendments to the elections laws. Many opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) elected in the 2013 general election have fled Cambodia in recent months out of fear of persecution.

FIDH urges the internationally community to unequivocally reject the 29 July election results, demand the immediate reinstatement of the CNRP and the release of its leader Kem Sokha and all other members and supporters, and call on the government to create conditions enabling the holding of a fresh election that complies with international standards.

Press contacts
FIDH: Ms. Maryna Chebat (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
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