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Cambodia’s Unopposed Election Signals Unchanged Relationship with China

Hun Manet, the son and presumptive successor of long-ruling Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, showing his ink-stained thumb, which proves he voted. Image: STR / AFP

The Cambodian government lauded the results of the weekend’s landslide victory for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The choice was clear – it was essentially a one-horse race, with long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party winning 120 out of 125 seats. The victory arguably signals stability in the long China-Cambodia relationship. Phnom Penh is one of China’s closest allies in Southeast Asia.

The victory follows the barring of the much-eroded opposition Candlelight Party from the poll on a technicality. The Cambodian people basically threw up their hands. One man told the Japanese broadcaster NHK: “We had no choice. Hun Sen was selected, whether we chose to vote or chose not to vote.”

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