ANGKOR: Thousands of orange-clad monks joined Cambodian Leading Hun Sen on Sunday (Dec 3) for a prayer ceremony by the famed Angkor temple, lauding “political security” after the primary opposition social gathering was dissolved, an act that has cemented the strongman’s grip on electric power.
Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia because 1985, earning him 1 of the world’s longest-serving leaders, an accolade acquired via a combine of chilly political tactic, deft community relations and repression.
His rule appears pretty much confident after a courtroom early this thirty day period disbanded the primary opposition social gathering forward of following year’s elections.
As dawn rose in excess of the tiered stone domes of Angkor Wat, Hun Sen joined prayers with 5,000 Buddhist monks, in a ceremony touted as celebrating peace and security at the symbolic coronary heart of Khmer electric power.
Swish apsara dancers, fingers curled in the common artwork, went via their moves as countless numbers collected for the function at the vast Angkor intricate – the centrepiece of the Khmer empire which draws again to the 9th century.
Hun Sen, who has cast himself as a figure of security in a region ravaged by the genocidal Khmer Rouge routine, was entrance and centre of a early morning of careful choreography.
Kneeling, hands clasped in prayer, he gained blessings from monks who sang Buddhist mantras and scattered flower petals.
“We live with peace under the key minister’s rule,” Prum Seab, 49, who was amongst the group told AFP. “I am happy.”
Tourism minister Thong Khon warmed to the topic.
“We keep this ceremony for continuous prosperity … we pray for continued peace and security,” he told AFP, swatting absent the concern of a political disaster in the region.
“We have no disaster, but there are politicians who are having a disaster by themselves,” he stated.
Analysts experienced predicted a potent obstacle to Hun Sen at following year’s election, after the youth vote in 2013 took the opposition Cambodia Countrywide Rescue Get together (CNRP) to its ideal at any time electoral end result.
But Hun Sen has rallied in the intervening several years, boosting his community profile via Facebook, while systematically applying the kingdom’s pliant courts to hack absent at the CNRP as perfectly as critics in civil modern society and the media.
Cambodia’s primary opposition social gathering was ultimately dissolved this thirty day period in excess of accusations it conspired with the United States in a treason plot.
The situation was blasted by Washington as baseless, while legal rights groups stated it has hastened the country’s descent into a de facto 1-social gathering point out.
Hun Sen has turned up the anti-American rhetoric to justify the unparalleled crackdown which has incorporated shuttering crucial media with trumped-up tax rates or arresting journalists on allegations of spying.
In stage, he has deepened Cambodia’s embrace of regional heavyweight China, whose very low-fascination loans and infrastructure schemes are driving a boom in the 1 of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries.
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