July 29, 2018 (LBO) – Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has won the country’s 6th general election held on July 29 in a landslide and he will continue as the world’s longest serving Prime Minister, extending his 33 years for another 5 year term.
The highly controversial election was deemed illegitimate by the U.S., E.U. and even Japan due to the dissolution of Cambodia’s main opposition party and the shut down of free media prior to the polls.
Cambodia’s former opposition leaders, imprisoned for treason and exiled, called for a general boycott of the election in the face of ruling party threats of cutting off public services to those that boycotted the vote. The ruling party line seemed to prove stronger as the National Election Commission cited voter turnout at 81% of more than 8 million voters, significantly higher than the 2013 turnout of 69%.
Analysts say that while the United Nations brought democracy in the early 1990s to Cambodia after years of civil war, following the latest election Cambodia has effectively become a one-party state with Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) taking full control of the state after years of inching toward that goal, currently with the strong support of China.
Cambodia’s largest export markets, the U.S. and EU, are considering a range of potential sanctions as a result of the deterioration of Cambodian democracy.
The Chinese government has been a steadfast supporter of the regime in the face of Western criticism, and China’s government has supported the regime with political and economic aid to the tune of nearly USD $600 million per year for the last several years covering any shortfalls in Western support. Private Chinese investment will exceed $10 billion over the next 10 years, and trade between countries is expected to ramp up in advance of possible Western sanctions.
The $22 billion economy has been one of the fastest growing in the world, due to the historically low levels of development, with tourism, garments, construction, and agriculture as the main economic sectors.
LOLC is the largest Sri Lankan investor in Cambodia with large shareholdings in 2 Cambodian financial institutions with outstanding loans of more than $1 billion.
The world’s longest-serving President is Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema at 39 years, who won his last election with nearly 94% of the vote.