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Cambodian Strongman Ruler Claims Landslide Election Victory

The party of authoritarian Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen declared an overwhelming victory in the general election on Sunday, a vote outside critics said was a sham as he possibly moves toward transferring power to his eldest son.

Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party faced no viable opposition after a ruthless, years-long crackdown on his opposition. The country’s election committee said 8.1 million people voted, 84% of those eligible to cast ballots.

The only opponent with any real clout in the country was disqualified from running, leaving 17 mostly obscure parties on the ballot, none of which won parliamentary seats in the last election in 2018.

“We’ve won in a landslide … but we can’t calculate the number of seats yet,” said CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan.

Hun Sen, 70, has been in power for 38 years and dismissed all Western concern about the election’s validity. He appeared poised to turn power over to his anointed successor, his eldest son, Hun Manet.

No timeframe had been given for Hun Sen’s transfer of power until last week when he signaled that his son “could be” prime minister next month.

Hun Sen said the voter turnout for the election – the second highest in three decades – proved that criticism from his mostly overseas-based rivals had failed.

Some material in this report came from Reuters.

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