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U.S. Troubled by Cambodia Preventing Opposition Party from Election Participation

FILE - Supporters of the opposition party, Candlelight Party, wave flags as they take part in a campaign rally for the upcoming local elections on June 5, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 21, 2022. Picture taken May 21, 2022. REUTERS/Prak Chan Thul

The United States is "deeply troubled" that Cambodia's sole opposition party is being prevented from participating in the country's July 23 election, the State Department said on Thursday.

The Candlelight Party, a weakened reincarnation of a popular opposition party that was dissolved in 2017, was disqualified over its registration paperwork, a ban activists dismissed as part of a years-long effort to crush opposition to long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The U.S. will not send official observers, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller added in the statement.