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Cambodia security forces could be election wildcard

Monday, May 22, 2017

Subject

Elections and security.

Significance

The interior minister has ordered security personnel to assure “equal security to all political parties” contesting the June 4 commune council elections. Yet this follows remarks by other officials that “war” will occur if the governing Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) loses these or the 2018 general election, and promising a crackdown if the opposition does not respect either election’s result and undertakes violent street protests. Cambodia’s security forces will be central to election security, to any crackdown and to the post-election period. However, concerns have been raised about their relationship with the state.

Impacts

  • Using the security forces to perpetuate CPP rule could undermine Cambodia’s democratisation.
  • However, renewed CPP government would assure internal security, aiding economic growth and investment.
  • If the CNRP wins in 2018, the CPP would likely demand a power-sharing agreement rather than leave office.
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