The photo is old, but Cambodia’s political chaos remains.
Hun Sen and his cronies were shocked by chaotic street protests in the lead-up to the 2013 election. And the vicious assaults by the police on peaceful protestors added fear and anger to the mix.
On election day the number voting for the kleptocracy nose-dived.
Quite how many votes they lost may never be known. Certainly there were widespread voting irregularities and many believed that Hun Sen lost on the day, but simply changed some results to ensure victory.
Today, key opposition leader Kem Sokha, under threat of arrest on politically motivated charges, is rarely seen as he remains holed up in his party’s headquarters.
The once hugely popular, Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has been in self-imposed exile for almost a year. Many Cambodians see his flight as an act of cowardice.
And Kem Ly , a highly respected political analyst and a grassroots campaigner with huge support, was shot and killed while drinking his morning coffee early this year. The killer’s given reason for murdering Kem Ly was preposterous, and so the police’s inaction on the case further fuels anger and the belief that this was a politically ordered killing by someone in the ruling party.
Local commune elections are set for 2017 and the national parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2018. It should be a rocky ride.
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