Hun Sen Puts Cambodia’s ‘Culture of Dialogue’ on Hold

Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, greeting supporters, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug. 16, 2015 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).
Sam Rainsy, leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, greeting supporters, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug. 16, 2015 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).
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The politically motivated prosecution last month of opposition leader Sam Rainsy was a rude interruption to Cambodia’s so-called culture of dialogue, the name for the political settlement Cambodia’s government and the opposition reached in 2014 after contested elections. The interruption to this rapprochement was not very surprising: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is Asia’s longest-serving ruler, and he has not achieved this feat by acting benignly toward his political opponents. As Stephanie Giry documented in Foreign Affairs, over the course of his 30 years in power, Hun Sen has “coaxed or cowed, corrupted or co-opted, defanged, sidelined, or otherwise neutralized […]

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