Cambodia just had a major election, but there wasn't much suspense involved. The outcome of the Cambodia election 2018, as expected, was declared a win for authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for over 33 years.
This was the 6th general Cambodia election since the UN sponsored the country's free and fair vote in 1993, but some analysts say that the more elections that have been held, the more authoritarian Hun Sen has become.
Journalists and human rights groups say Cambodia is sliding into a full-fledged dictatorship. We spoke to an expert on authoritarian regimes and democratization in Southeast Asia who says the country is already there.
In this episode of NowThis World, Versha will be exploring Cambodia news and the question: how
did Cambodia and the Cambodian people get here?
But before we look at the latest Cambodia election, we will need to understand who Hun Sen is.
Hun Sen first came to power in 1985, but was a political figure in the country years before that. A series of twists and turns in the Cambodian power structure eventually landed him in the right place at the right time.
In the past year, the Cambodian election crackdown and the crackdown on human rights has escalated. In addition to eliminating the major opposition party, major independent newspapers have been forced to close, in order to silence critical reporting.
Hun Sen has committed to staying prime minister for at least another decade, and he's also reportedly been grooming his sons to take over when the time comes.
But as the younger, more educated generation grows increasingly disillusioned with Hun Sen's authoritarian rule, could a mass protest reasonably overthrow the government?