US demands Cambodia restore democracy after ‘neither free, nor fair’ election

Washington, Jul 23 (EFE).- Cambodia’s general election was “neither free nor fair” and the ruling party must restore democracy, the United States said Sunday night after the Southeast Asian country’s leader extended his rule in a one-horse race widely seen as a sham.

“The United States is troubled that the July 23 Cambodian national elections were neither free nor fair,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Miller denounced that in the run-up to the election, “authorities engaged in a pattern of threats and harassment against the political opposition, media, and civil society that undermined the spirit of the country’s constitution and Cambodia’s international obligations. These actions denied the Cambodian people a voice and a choice in determining the future of their country.”

In response, Washington was imposing visa restrictions on individuals who undermined democracy and pausing certain foreign assistance programs, he said without elaborating.

Miller demanded that the government of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party restore a “genuine multi-party democracy,” that it put an end to “politically motivated trials,” reverse the convictions of critics of the government and allow independent media outlets to “reopen and function without interference.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP swept Sunday’s general election as expected with all credible opposition having been eliminated in what has widely been described as a sham.

The result has given Hun Sen, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1985, a five-year extension of his mandate to be extended for another five years.

However, he told China’s Phoenix TV on Friday that his army commander son, Hun Manet, could take over the top job in the coming weeks. EFE


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