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IMAGO / Kyodo News

Country Reports

How the election in the Kingdom of Cambodia prepares the country for a new role in the region

Same same but different?

On 23 July 2023, the Cambodian people cast their votes in the national parliamentary elections. With 120 of 125 seats in the national parliament, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is once again the strongest ruling party. At first glance, this result is unsurprising, as it continues the pattern from the last election in 2018. However, a closer look reveals that the preconditions for this year's election, as well as its consequences for the years to come, outline a new political landscape in Cambodia. The consequences for the region are significant.

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The recent elections in Cambodia underscore a potential turning point in the country's political and economic development. The Cambodian People's Party (CPP) maintained its stronghold, securing 120 of the 125 seats in the Cambodia general elections. This victory, coupled with the imminent power transfer from Prime Minister Hun Sen to his eldest son Hun Manet, signifies a shifting political landscape. A potential cabinet restructure under Hun Manet's leadership is likely to give rise to a younger, Western-educated elite, resonating with younger voters and focusing on a technocratic political style. These changes could deeply influence Cambodia's engagement within the region and beyond, marking a transformative era for its rulers, its economic ambitions, and its renewed role in the Kingdom. While Hun Sen's tenure has been marked by attempts to avoid over-dependence on any one partner, balancing relations with China, the West, and neighboring countries, the future under Hun Manet's potential leadership remains uncertain. This analysis explores these imminent transitions, their implications for Cambodia's regional position, and potential collaboration with international partners. However, the trajectory of democratic development amidst these changes remains an open question.

The full-length country report is currently only available in German.

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David Merkle

David Merkle bild

Policy Advisor for Asia and Pacific (Beijing, Shanghai, RECAP) +49 30 - 26996 3804 +86 21 6249-4549


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