Cambodia readies for July 29 general elections – 70,000 police deployed

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Obviously not expecting a friction-free election on Cambodia’s polling day on Sunday, July 29, the government started to deploy an army of security forces and police across the country. Reportedly, nearly 70,000 security personnel will be postitioned at all 22,967 polling stations countrywide during Cambodia’s general election, but most of them in Phnom Penh where they will additionally carry anti-riot gear.

The concentration is clearly meant as a display to discourage any street protests during the polls which have been mired in controversy since incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen began a crackdown on opposition lawmakers and civil society organisations and closing down critical media outlets.

Many not sympathetic to his political course have called for a boycott of the elections; in turn, members of Huns Sens’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) began pressuring people to vote, otherwise they would be discriminated against in villages and townships.

Phnom Penh’s Police Chief Chuon Sovann even said that “our forces have a duty to prevent, stop and crack down on every case that leads to an obstruction of the election,” adding that “police will stop any protests or those who urge others not to vote.”

Western countries and the United Nations have expressed concern the vote might neither be free nor fair after a court last year dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

In a recent speech, Hun Sen, who has been in power for 33 years, said his party had protected people and prevented the return of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime that killed an estimated 1.7 million people in the 1970s.

“The CPP has been the only political force that has stayed and shared ups and down with the people, and has done everything for the interest of the people,” he added, promising to increase wages for factory workers, civil servants and armed forces every year.

Analysts say it is “almost certain” that Huns Sen’s party will win the election in the absence of the main opposition CNRP and with many who oppose him being under threat, and he would easily become prime minister for yet another term.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Obviously not expecting a friction-free election on Cambodia’s polling day on Sunday, July 29, the government started to deploy an army of security forces and police across the country. Reportedly, nearly 70,000 security personnel will be postitioned at all 22,967 polling stations countrywide during Cambodia’s general election, but most of them in Phnom Penh where they will additionally carry anti-riot gear.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Obviously not expecting a friction-free election on Cambodia’s polling day on Sunday, July 29, the government started to deploy an army of security forces and police across the country. Reportedly, nearly 70,000 security personnel will be postitioned at all 22,967 polling stations countrywide during Cambodia’s general election, but most of them in Phnom Penh where they will additionally carry anti-riot gear.

The concentration is clearly meant as a display to discourage any street protests during the polls which have been mired in controversy since incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen began a crackdown on opposition lawmakers and civil society organisations and closing down critical media outlets.

Many not sympathetic to his political course have called for a boycott of the elections; in turn, members of Huns Sens’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) began pressuring people to vote, otherwise they would be discriminated against in villages and townships.

Phnom Penh’s Police Chief Chuon Sovann even said that “our forces have a duty to prevent, stop and crack down on every case that leads to an obstruction of the election,” adding that “police will stop any protests or those who urge others not to vote.”

Western countries and the United Nations have expressed concern the vote might neither be free nor fair after a court last year dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

In a recent speech, Hun Sen, who has been in power for 33 years, said his party had protected people and prevented the return of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime that killed an estimated 1.7 million people in the 1970s.

“The CPP has been the only political force that has stayed and shared ups and down with the people, and has done everything for the interest of the people,” he added, promising to increase wages for factory workers, civil servants and armed forces every year.

Analysts say it is “almost certain” that Huns Sen’s party will win the election in the absence of the main opposition CNRP and with many who oppose him being under threat, and he would easily become prime minister for yet another term.

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