A cyclist rides past an electoral hoarding of Cambodia's Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Hun Sen, in Phnom Penh on July 26, 2018.

Cambodia's election condemned as a 'sham'

Updated 1:56 AM ET, Sun July 29, 2018

Phnom Penh, Cambodia (CNN)Voting is under way in Cambodia's general election. Officially, there are 20 different political parties on Sunday's ballot. But for many voters in this small Southeast Asian nation, there is no real choice.

The election, the country's sixth since democracy was restored in 1993, has been condemned as a "sham" by rights groups, following the dissolution of the main opposition party and a crackdown on the press by the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).
In areas away from the capital, voters spoke of a variety of intimidation tactics deployed by the CPP.
"Some people are afraid of talking politics," said one man, who asked to be identified only by his nickname, Bo. According to Bo, the CPP, which under Prime Minister Hun Sen has governed the country for 33 years, punishes those who vote for the opposition.
In rural Cambodia, the village chief and commune counselors issue documents for everything from marriages to land purchases, making people like Bo reliant on them for simple everyday transactions.
Inside the Cambodian People's Party office in Traing district, Takeo province. The single staffer on duty did not want to be photographed.