Cambodia's controversial election, criticised by UN and Western countries, takes places without a credible opposition and is set to extend Prime Minister Hun Sen's 33-year grip on power.

A woman votes during a general election in Takhmao, Kandal province, Cambodia July 29, 2018
A woman votes during a general election in Takhmao, Kandal province, Cambodia July 29, 2018 (Reuters)

Polls in Cambodia opened on Sunday amid criticism of a crackdown against dissenters by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is set to hold on to power after nearly 33 years in office.

"All polling stations opened at 7:00 am (0000 GMT)," Dim Sovannarum, National Election Committee spokesman, told AFP news agency, in a vote that will continue for eight hours before counting begins.

The general election is the country's sixth since 1993 when it emerged from decades of war.

In the capital Phnom Penh, some people lined up early at polling stations in the city center clutching identification cards.

Last week, Cambodia blocked the websites of some independent media just before the election in which Hun Sen faces almost no challenge to his 33-year-old rule.

TRT World's Caitlin McGee reports from Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.

Media targeted before polls

Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper, shut down after it was ordered to pay millions of dollars in back taxes by the government or face closure. 

Chhorn Chansy, a young journalist that used to work for the paper believes tax was used as a weapon against the paper. 

Around 30 radio stations were shut last year.

Sunday's election has been criticised by the United Nations and Western countries as fundamentally flawed after the Supreme Court last year dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party over accusations of plotting to topple the government. 

Its leader, Kem Sokha, was imprisoned for treason.

Nineteen political parties are running against Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party but none are strongly critical of the prime minister or the government.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies