There are concerns regarding the relevance of the electoral process in Cambodia. The constitution and corresponding laws provide for free and fair elections - at least in theory. But things are different in practice. The last parliamentary elections took place in 2008. In comparison to earlier polls (especially those in 2003), there was only little pre-electoral violence. Fewer cases of vote-buying and intimidation occurred, and international observers stated that some progress could be noted. However, it is worrying that some of the irregularities were allegedly perpetrated by Prime Minister Hun Senâ€˜s Cambodian Peopleâ€˜s Party (CPP) which dominates the countryâ€˜s political scene. Evidence suggests that the CPP successfully bought and/or intimidated competitors.
Political pluralism and participation is almost non-existent: By means of repression and threat, the CPP managed to establish a quasi one-party system. The only opposition party is the Sam-Rainsy-Party (SRP) whose leader lives in exile. Cambodians enjoy only little space to take part in politics.