Latest World News: Cambodia votes as Hun Sen wins near-guaranteed election – Reuters

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s ruling party said on Sunday (July 23) it was on track for a “landslide” victory in an election where all meaningful opposition to longtime leader Hun Sen was eliminated before polling day.

The 70-year-old former Khmer Rouge executive has been in power since 1985 and faces no real competition in this vote, with opposition parties banned, challenger candidates forced to flee and free speech stifled.

His Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is expected to retain all 125 seats in the lower house, extending its grip on power and paving the way for a dynastic succession that some critics have likened to North Korean politics.

The only serious opposition party has been disqualified on a technicality ahead of the election and it will be a surprise if any of the other 17 poorly funded smaller parties win seats.

“We are in the process of winning a landslide victory,” CPP spokesman Sok Eysan told AFP about two hours after the polls closed as the count was underway.

He then told AFP that the party had won “between 78 and 80% of the vote”, according to his own count.

Some provincial results are expected to drop overnight, although the final seat count won’t be officially confirmed for several weeks.

More than 9.7 million people have registered to vote in the seventh election since the United Nations first sponsored polls in 1993 after years of conflict – including the genocidal Khmer Rouge – left the country devastated.

Over the past 30 years, any hopes the international community might have had for a vibrant multi-party democracy in Cambodia have been dashed by the juggernaut of Hun Sen’s regime.

Turnout recorded by 9 p.m. (1500 GMT) was 85 percent and Hun Sen said it showed support for opposition groups had collapsed.

“The Cambodian people will not let cheat groups destroy the country,” he wrote on his official Telegram channel.

With Hun Sen’s victory all but assured, eyes will turn to Hun Manet, his son and anointed successor, after the veteran prime minister said he could hand over power within weeks.

“We exercised our right and our civil responsibility and the right … of citizens to vote to choose the party we like to lead the country,” the 45-year-old scion told reporters after casting his vote.

Many wonder if Hun Manet, educated in the United States and Britain, could bring change to the country – although Hun Sen has made it clear he intends to continue pulling the strings even after his son takes office.

Asked by AFP what he planned to do for Cambodia when he became Prime Minister, Hun Manet replied: “I have no comment on that”.

Rights groups have condemned the election, with a 17-member coalition saying on the eve of the vote that the ballot was “of deep concern”.

Also read this Article:

An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
As the climate crisis intensified, extreme weather events wreaked havoc in various parts of the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods reminded humanity of the urgent need for climate action. In response, governments and communities across the globe doubled down on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and protect biodiversity.

Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.