PHNOM PENH – On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the ‘Toul Kork Primary School’ in Phnom Penh volunteers swept classrooms and laid out wooden desks, transforming the rooms into polling stations a day ahead of a general election.

“I believe voters will come out to vote,” Yos Vanthan, head of the school’s election committee, told Reuters. Election committee officials at the primary school in Boeung Kak 1 commune say 8,135 people are registered to vote there. Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander who eventually defected from Pol Pot’s murderous regime, is the world’s longest-serving prime minister.

 

CNRP leaders, have fled abroad and are living in self-imposed exile and its leader, Kem Sokha, was jailed in September on treason charges, leaving Hun Sen, who has ruled for 33 years, with no significant opponent. Nineteen political parties are running against Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party, but none are strongly critical of the prime minister or the government. His main challenge, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was dissolved by the Supreme Court last year and many of its lawmakers banned from politics for five years.

Mu Sochua, CNRP deputy president, said, “Any country supporting, or that is hesitant to denounce the election as a sham, should not call itself on the side of democracy”.

Dim Sovannarom, a spokesman for the National Election Committee, who inspected the school on Saturday, said, “the commission expects more than 60 percent of registered voters to cast their ballot. We expect more than 60 percent in the whole country”.

Image Credit- Reuters

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