>> Despite the barricades the way is now clear for Cambodia's authoritarian leader to extend more than three decades in power. The Supreme Court dissolved the government's main opposition party on Thursday, and slapped a 5-year political ban on 118 of their members. The Cambodian National Rescue Party stands accused of plotting to take power with help from the United States.
The party had posed a major challenge to the world's longest-serving Prime Minister in an election next year. Reuters Amy Lefvre is in Phnom Penh.>> The general election that's planned for next year, will be a guaranteed win for Prime Minster Hun Sen, and what he's managed to do is he's managed to remove all obstacles in his way.
Rights groups are saying that the ruling makes the general election illegitimate and some are calling on the European Union and the US, and others to withdraw any support for the election next year.>> The Prime Minister says the election will go ahead as quote normal, and called on opposition party members, who hadn't been banned to defect to his ruling party.
Their leader, Kem Sokha, was arrested in early September. Western donors who sponsored 1993's elections in the hope of founding an enduring democracy, have called for his release. But they've shown no appetite for sanctions against Cambodia's Government.>> What we could be seeing is some sort of action from the United States or from the European Union.
For example, trade sanctions is something that's been discussed, travel bans for senior leaders in the government>> The US and European Union missions in Cambodia declined immediate comment on the court ruling. Rights groups say it leaves Cambodia a de facto one party state, rendering next years election meaningless.