Sure win doesn't change mandate for reform
Few doubt that Hun Sen will wake up as prime minister of Cambodia on July 29, but if he wants to keep his party in power and move the country forward there is a lot of work to be done, starting with pulling off a free and fair election
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to the press after engineering a pardon for his most prominent rival, Sam Rainsy, clearing the way for the self-exiled politician to return home last week.
While the outcome seems assured, there are still expectations that next Sunday's election - the fifth since 1993 - will be a milestone in developing the relatively young democratic values and political system in Cambodia. Eight political parties are on the ballots, but for all practical purposes it's a two-horse race, with Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian Peoples Party (CCP) widely predicted to outrun the opposition National Rescue Party (NRP), led by Sam Rainsy, whose pardon last week by King Norodom Sihamoni allowed him to return to Cambodia after years of exile.
But while CPP is expected to win the election with an absolute majority in parliament due to its financial resources and public outreach capacity, NRP is gaining ground. Prime Minister Hun Sen has his work cut out making good on campaign promises for political and economic reforms, and if he fails to deliver his party risks losing its dominance.