PHNOM PENH-Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s heir apparent insisted Monday on the legitimacy of elections his party won against no meaningful opposition, defying international criticism that the polls were neither free nor fair. Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia for nearly 40 years -- stifling all real opposition, freedom of speech and democratic reform -- but has indicated recently that he will soon hand power to his eldest son Hun Manet.
The United States on Monday condemned the polls, in which the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is predicted to win all but five of 125 parliamentary seats in the lower house. But Hun Manet posted a triumphant message across multiple social media platforms hailing his party’s victory.
“The Cambodian people have clearly expressed their wills through votes,” he wrote. “An overwhelming number have expressed support for the Cambodian People’s Party.” He thanked Cambodians “for choosing to vote, and especially for all the love and confidence in the CPP”. Official results will not be available for weeks, although the CPP claimed late Sunday to have won a “landslide” victory.