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The Forum > Article Comments > Cambodia: the changing political landscape > Comments

Cambodia: the changing political landscape : Comments

By Verghese Mathews, published 9/1/2007

Historians and political commentators will look back at 2006 as a defining year for Cambodian politics.

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When Cambodian PM Hun Sen visited Australia a few months ago, one could sense the quiet confidence in the man - a man who has seen off his many past political enemies. Verghese Mathews explains why. Hun Sen has successfully surmounted the crippling hurdle of the 2/3 majority rule for government formation, and can at last operate the electoral cycle in a non-dysfunctional way. It is good news for Cambodia and even for Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy, a man of great political charm and vision. Rainsy can at last build a real opposition party. The addition of Mu Sochua is very valuable and significant in rebutting the criticism that the Sam Rainsy Party is about Sam Rainsy. It is not and never has been, but he had to take that personalised politics route to avoid losing his party to money politics.

I don't shed too many tears for Ranariddh. a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth but who squandered his huge advantages as son of King Sihanouk.

The rich and abiding Cambodian culture of love and respect for their monarchy will not disappear. It will return in other political forms in years to come. Meanwhile the combination of a strong CPP government led by Hun Sen with a brave minority opposition led by Rainsy is the best possible recipe for democratic evolution in Cambodia - a young democracy and one of Australia's best and truest friends in Asia
Posted by tonykevin 1, Sunday, 14 January 2007 9:52:54 PM
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