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Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen casts his vote during the general elections on Sunday. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump White House labeled Sunday's general elections in Cambodia as a sham, lambasting the exclusion of the country’s principal opposition party, "the government’s choice to disenfranchise millions of voters" and cautioned that the U.S. will consider additional steps to respond to the contest.

The backdrop: The Cambodian People’s Party declared victory on Sunday night, giving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, a landslide victory in an election that had no serious challengers, reports BBC News.

The country had its first multi-party elections in decades in 1993 after years of bloody war, thanks to a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Cambodia faced years of horror and upheaval when roughly 2 million people died between 1975 and 1979 under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Sen was a former soldier in the Khmer Rouge, but later opposed them.

  • Sen has long been accused of using the judicial system and security forces to intimidate his critics, but allowed political opposition to his CPP party.
  • In November, Cambodia's Supreme Court dissolved the country's main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, after it was accused of plotting to overthrow the government. CNRP had denied the charges and said it was politically motivated.

Flashback: In February, the Trump administration said it would cut or suspend "several Treasury, USAID, and American military assistance programs" in Cambodia, citing "deep concern" over "recent setbacks to democracy. "

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

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