PHNOM PENH, The party of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, says it has won a landslide victory in a general election that lacked any serious challengers.

The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said it had won 80% of the July 29 vote, giving it at least 100 of 125 seats.

Election staff say turnout was 82.71%.

Critics have called the vote a sham as the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which narrowly lost the last election, has been dissolved.

The US and EU were also among those questioning the credibility of the vote, but the CPP said 19 other parties had stood.

Official election results are reportedly not expected until mid-August.

As part of a large UN peacekeeping mission, Cambodia held its first multi-party elections in decades in 1993 after years of bloodshed and war. Some two million people are estimated to have died between 1975 and 1979 when the country was ruled by the radical communists of the Khmer Rouge.

Hun Sen, a former soldier in the Khmer Rouge who later opposed them, has presided over a sustained period of rapid economic growth.

In 2013, the CNRP led a mass protest movement after rejecting the election results, posing the biggest threat to Hun Sen’s rule in more than a decade.

It was allowed to contest local elections last year, and won around 44% of the popular vote.

Since then, its leader has been jailed for alleged treason, and much of its senior leadership has fled abroad, trying to drum up support for international sanctions.

The party itself was dissolved in November by the Supreme Court, based on a complaint from the government that it was conspiring with the US to overthrow it. All its elected politicians lost their positions, including 55 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly.

The US and the EU, which both lavished aid on Cambodia after its first UN-administered election in 1993, cut off electoral assistance for this poll.

But China, which recently gave more than $130m in military aid to Cambodia, sent observers for the first time.

Source: NAM News Network