Hun Sen, ruler for 33 years, faces little opposition in upcoming election
PHNOM PENH/SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia — As boom-mounted cameras swept the horizon, a drone hovered above more than 50,000 party faithful who had begun streaming noisily through the Cambodian capital well before dawn, dressed in white shirts and caps, and waving blue flags.
The modern technology captured an old and familiar scene: the unshakable Cambodian People’s Party elite out in strength ahead of a controversial general election that most observers believe lacks a credible opposition. The main Cambodian National Rescue Party was dissolved by Supreme Court order, and its leader Kem Sokha is in prison.
Kicking off the campaign for this month’s election was the longest-serving prime minister in the Asia-Pacific region: Hun Sen, the 65-year-old party chairman. Singers performed rousing favorites, monks dispensed petals and blessings, and troupes of dancers — apsaras, rowers and ducklings — softened up the crowd. At 7:15am, Hun Sen began reading from a prepared text and did not stop for 70 minutes. He was interrupted only once by a brief, almost auspicious sprinkling of rain. Continue reading “Cambodians wary as Chinese investment transforms their country”