Over the past few weeks, Cambodia has been confronting the threat of further trade sanctions from the European Union (EU) amid continued democracy and human rights issues in the Southeast Asian state. Apart from the intricacies of the issue itself and the dynamics of EU-Cambodia ties, the issue has also further heated up the country’s already contested and polarized politics.
While political polarization and contestation is nothing new in Cambodia, the situation has no doubt heated up over the past few years as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) have sought to consolidate power further and impose restrictions and crackdowns on the opposition. While there have been some shifts following last year’s elections, the broader realities remain largely unchanged, making it difficult to strike a middle ground.
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