Phnom Penh – In June 2017, Cambodia’s pro-democracy opposition party made unprecedented gains in the local commune elections, casting serious doubt on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ability to extend his 33-year rule in the following year’s national election.
There was a spirit of optimism when Kem Sokha’s Cambodia National Rescue Party prepared to take on Hun Sen at the ballot box. Decades of political violence seemed to be at an end and democracy, first attempted in 1993, was within Cambodia’s grasp.
On November 16, 2017, however, the CNRP was forcibly dissolved on spurious allegations of attempted revolution, leaving politicians, analysts and journalists across the world no choice but to declare Cambodia’s democracy officially dead.
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