> He's ruled Cambodia for more than 30 years. And Sunday's election is expected to be an easy win for Prime Minister Hun Sen. But there is a contest, of sorts. The opposition has called for a vote of boycott, saying that without any real opponents to the government, the poll will be a sham.
The ruling Cambodian Peoples' Party's main challenger was dissolved last year and its leader imprisoned. After it narrowly lost the 2013 election, and quickly gathered momentum. Many of its members now live in self-imposed exile. Reuter's Tom Allard says voter turnout is going to be a key test of Sen 's legitimacy.
>> But if there is a low turnout, then that will undermine Hun Sen 's power base within the ruling party. It will also give countries like the US and also the European Union, more ammunition to impose sanctions on the country.>> Critics have called the targeted sanctions against the government following its pre-election crackdown.
Sen was a former Khmer Rouge commander who eventually defected from Pol Pot's murderous regime. Since then, he's strengthened ties with China who's backed his campaign by announcing key infrastructure projects in the last three weeks. His party is reminding voters it's delivered strong economic growth and higher wages. But it doesn't appear to be leaving anything to chance.
Reuter's interviewed one disgruntled ruling party official who explained, there was a, quote, spy network operating right down to village level.>> We've also heard reports of government officials doing vote demonstration exercises. When people tick the box of another party, people are told that that's wrong. And they must vote for the CPP, which is the acronym for the ruling party.
If they don't, there could be be trouble.>> While voting isn't mandatory, authorities have warned anyone who boycotts will be seen as a traitor.