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Just days before America votes for its next president, Donald Trump has drawn yet another unlikely international endorsement with Cambodian strongman Hun Sen joining a colourful coterie of foreign leaders backing the real estate mogul to win. Hun Sen, an authoritarian premier who leans heavily on bombast and brash statements, said today he “really wanted” Trump to clinch next week’s US presidential poll, extolling the billionaire Republican’s potential as a global peacemaker.
“Frankly speaking, I really want Trump to win,” Hun Sen said in a speech to hundreds of police cadets in the capital Phnom Penh. “If Trump wins, the world might change and the situation would become better because Trump is a businessman, and as businessman, Trump will not want war,” he added. Hun Sen, whose 31-year rule over Cambodia has been marred by accusations of rampant rights abuses, added that a Trump presidency may help heal deeply strained ties between the United States and Russia. “But if Trump wins, Trump and Putin could be friends,” Hun Sen said today.
The Russian president is one of few other world leaders to praise Trump, calling him a “very bright and talented person”. A handful of other endorsements have come from right-wing politicians in Europe, including Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Czech President Milos Zeman. In an extraordinarily divisive campaign, Trump has hurled insults at women, hispanics, Muslims and called into question long-standing alliances with nations around the globe.
The endorsement from Hun Sen comes as Trump’s polling numbers have been given a recent lift ahead of Tuesday’s vote, a bump that has by turns horrified, delighted and bamboozled outside observers. The sudden narrowing of the race has also sent shudders through financial markets, with most investors considering democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a safer, more stable bet.