With Beijing’s blessing


Prime minister since 1993, Hun Sen has disbanded the opposition party and banned 100 of its representatives in the run up to elections next July.

Change seemed to be in the air just four years ago in Cambodia. In a country with an extremely young average age, civil society appeared to be reawakening after almost 30 years of the authoritarian regime of Hun Sen. A new opposition group had caused alarm amongst the ruling party by almost winning the elections. Cambodia’s citizens were being galvanised and emboldened in their social aspirations. There was talk of a “Cambodian Spring”, and a palpable sense that changes were afoot. Change has now arrived, but it is the opposite of what was expected.

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