How Corrupt Was Cambodia’s Election? | NowThis World

Cambodia just had a major election, but there
wasn’t much suspense involved. The outcome, as expected, was declared a win
for authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for over 33 years. This was the 6th general election since the
UN sponsored the country’s free and fair vote in 1993, but some analysts say that the
more elections that have been held, the more authoritarian the country has become. Journalists and human rights groups say Cambodia
is sliding into a full-fledged dictatorship. And we spoke to an expert on authoritarian
regimes and democratization in Southeast Asia who says the country is already there. Hi guys, I’m Versha, this is NowThis World,
and on this episode we’re exploring the question: how did Cambodia get here? Before we look at these latest elections,
we need to understand who Hun Sen is. The world’s longest currently-serving Prime
Minister first came to power in 1985, but was a political figure in the country years
before that. A series of twists and turns in the Cambodian
power structure eventually landed him in the right place at the right time. In the early ‘70s, a young Hun Sen joined
the forces of the communist insurgency movement, the Khmer Rouge, and quickly moved up the
ranks to commander, leading hundreds and thousands of men in military offenses against the pro-U.S.
Khmer Republic in the years leading up to the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of the capital
city, Phnom Penh. Cambodia then spent four years in the mid-‘70s,
embroiled in the Khmer Rouge regime, whose brutal crackdowns resulted in the deaths of
an estimated two million people, including hundreds of thousands of mostly-Muslim Cham
people.This is considered to be one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century. Hun Sen has denied taking part in the human
rights abuses committed by the Khmer Rouge. He defected to Vietnam in 1977, allegedly
out of fear of retribution from the government for not taking part in the mass killings. Vietnam invaded Cambodia two years later,
overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and instituted a new government, the People’s Republic
of Kampuchea, or PRK. Hun Sen’s connection and perceived loyalty
to Vietnam led to his appointment as foreign minister in the PRK, and then, by age 32,
Prime Minister. But under the police state of the Communist
PRK, human rights abuses continued. Security forces suppressed opposition groups
and tortured and interrogated detainees. Lee Morgenbesser, whose research examines
flawed elections and dictators in Southeast Asia, broke it down for us. “You had four warring factions, you had
an outbreak of disease, poverty, starvation, a lot of very terrible conditions.” Eventually, the international community stepped
in to oversee a peace agreement, with the goal of setting Cambodia on a path to democracy. This led to the 1993 so-called ‘free and
fair’ elections. Those elections didn’t turn out so well
for Hun Sen. His party, the Cambodian People’s Party,
or CPP, didn’t win the majority of seats. But he refused to accept the result, and forced
a negotiation with the Funcinpec Party to become second Prime Minister. In 1997, he orchestrated a coup to consolidate
power, and has single-handedly ruled as PM ever since. His official title in Khmer translates to
‘princely exalted supreme great commander of gloriously victorious troops.’ And starting in 2016, all media were ordered
to use this full title. As it stands, Transparency International ranks
Cambodia the third most corrupt country in Asia. But how could a country with constitution-mandated
general elections every five years be so corrupt? It has a lot to do with who’s running in
them. Though no fewer than 20 registered parties
competed in the recent election, it’s wasn’t really a competition. Hun Sen has denied this, but these parties
are known locally as ‘firefly’ parties for a reason. They pop up briefly during election season,
then fade away again. Many of these parties have been accused of
ties to the government, or even being completely fabricated. Besides which, they have no time to develop
infrastructure to mobilize supporters. “You’ve got a party that’s been in power
since 1979 competing against 20 minor parties that have no significance, no influence on
the political dynamics of the country, most of them don’t even have a national presence.” “They promote the idea of competition without
the substance of it.” He says the government is still using elections
to uphold the facade of democracy, to help Cambodia make a case for foreign aid, foreign
direct investment, and membership in international organizations. But Hun Sen’s party essentially eliminated
the only real opposition in November 2017 and imprisoned or exiled its leaders. Many speculate that the party’s surprising
success in the 2013 election was the driving force behind this. But even if these ‘firefly’ parties were
well-established with adequate resources, the actual process of voting still looks like
this: “Widespread irregularities with the elections,
such as vote-buying, voter intimidation.” “Literally handing out cash. Literally teaching people how to tick the
box for the Cambodia People’s Party.” Even if opposition groups exist, it’s difficult
for them to speak out without fear of retribution. A recently-enacted lese-majeste law forbids
people from insulting the monarchy, or risk facing a fine and years of prison time. And pressure from international bodies isn’t
as strong as it has been historically. Though the White House has recently reduced
its financial assistance to Cambodia over concerns about
‘setbacks to democracy,’ the current stakes aren’t too high for the country. “You have China backing Cambodia and the
government, and then you have Donald Trump in the White House who, quite frankly, doesn’t
seem to care about the promotion of democracy and security of human rights in Southeast
Asia.” And in the past year, the crackdown on human
rights has escalated. In addition to eliminating the major opposition
party, major independent newspapers have been forced to close, in order to silence critical
reporting. So, now that the CPP has taken another victory,
what’s next for Hun Sen and the country? Hun Sen has committed to staying Prime Minister
for at least another decade, and he’s also been grooming his sons to take over when the
time comes. But as the younger, more educated generation
grows increasingly disillusioned with Hun Sen’s authoritarian rule, could a mass protest
reasonably overthrow the government?

100 comments on “How Corrupt Was Cambodia’s Election? | NowThis World”

  1. Versha Sharma says:

    Hi everyone! Versha here. I'm curious what you guys think of this latest election, and how free or fair it really was, and whether mass protests could have an effect in Cambodia.

  2. vkkmenon says:

    Thumbnail: Hun Sen is Closet RSS Pracharak disguised as a Communist seeking to revive the golden days of Angkor and establish a Hindu Cambodia 🤐

  3. SoPhat Vathana says:

    The Cambodia democracy is dead.

  4. Michael Stewart says:

    Hey hun sen is a great man. I am sick of Western ngo coming and trying to tell Cambodians how to run their government. I love Hun Sen and hope he remains in power forever. It is similar to Prayut chanoocha of Thailand another great leader,. I left the USA to escape Western Imperialism and Democracy. This is why I am looking to live in Russia, China, Iran, Cambodia, as I hate democracy. I am sick of the USA trying to force democracy on everyone. I like living under a dictator. I think elections are a waste of time.

  5. PU LY SARA Ocean says:

    Excuses me! How your sponsor to my sports word ?

  6. Leander Herman says:

    Like Child prostitution under the new Kampuchea government well done to have communism fall in Kampuchea well done and what happened now? well done with Democracy ha ha ha ha h ah

  7. Tundra Phlong says:

    This guy Hunsen is the most LIAER Corruption prime Minster in the world.
    Now this Doggy Corruption Government is win the election again because they are fake and cheat election again.
    Cambodian people are so suffering too much and too long from this Treason LIAER stupid Corruption Government.
    Please to all International around the world including the UNITED Nation please help Cambodian people please 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
    Because this Corruption Hunsen Government are rip-off will Land House from Innocent Cambodian people including the international Fund.
    Please help now 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  8. Jenifer ly says:

    Thank you for covering this 🙂

  9. learn learn says:

    Impossible to protest unless all Cambodians are willing to risk their lives all together at once AND once for all.


    Buying vote, get out of here.
    we knew that America like to use cambodia to stop Chinese influence in region. But Hun sen was their obstacles. So they used Color revolution that fund by American to change cambodia government by using opposition party, CNRP. Unfortunately, the color revolution wasn't success because Hun sen used sharp knife cutting their throat by closing American NGO which support them and CNRP's leader who getting support from American government to change Cambodia by using Color revolution.
    As a result in middle east like Iraq, syria, Libya most of their countries became civil war because of this color revolution that are support by western government. As a result most of that was devastated including infrastructure, human resources. Like Cambodia in 1970s, to stopped Communist influence in southeast asia, America use Cambodia as main base on Vietnam war. after the Vietnam war was be in civil war and Genocide regime took in and killed about 2 millions people in country most of them were Human resources like potential youth

  11. Ernest Jay says:

    Yet still he's better than Pol Pot.

  12. Pros KH Pros KH says:

    I am a Cambodian but I hate Hun Sen very much. He is very bad Prime Minister in Cambodia. There were many Cambodian politicians were killed in his regime. The most of Cambodian people don't like Hun Sen at all. We do want to change but all the polices and the soldiers are under his control. We just had an election happened but it was unfair and not free. He is very corrupted Prime Minister in the world. Please the world help our country out of his regime! Thank you .

  13. Sierra Yankee says:

    Hunsen and his extended family control every major industry in Cambodia. They control electricity, water, telecommunications, production of food etc. they basically hold all industries in private hands. The most important is the control of the army. It is not loyal to the people but to Hun Sen. and his crony generals who rule through intimidation and fear. He basically has his own personal bodyguard unit who receive the most advanced weaponry at his own dispense. It is a mafia state, and his son is being groomed for a take over in the future. He is using the threat of civil war to justify his corruption of staying in power and he is right coz the only way to get rid of an insect like Hun Sen is through arms coz he will have it no other way, he will cling to power through his son and future generations by rule of the gun….

  14. Socks With Sandals says:

    Visiting Cambodia myself I witnessed a people interested in blowing money on wedding parties, being seen owning foreign-made tech, not interested in reading or learning, an obsession with ego, status, face, fame and ostentation. Retards in a self imploding failed culture. Again.

  15. demain ihub says:


  16. Sheikh Abdussamad says:

    Do one about Bangladesh's corrupt election.

  17. ゲームフリーク says:

    Don’t forget about the Kim Ley assassination. Hun Sen could be involved within the planning of killing their own opposition leader at Phnom Penh at a Gas Station.

  18. kunthea suon says:

    hey Lady what makes you think that there is only one opposistion party CNRP ruling ambodia. From my personnel opinion i just consider that CNRP is just like a balloon which is only air inside it, nun solid. i want to say cnrp is also corrupted like CPP. it cannot help cambodians improve the god moral. however, for those ignoring reborn opposition party LDP is such a big mistake.

  19. Jimmy K says:

    There’s going to be a lot of blood shed. If Nato, Australia and the US don’t help. You will have a second North Korean in the near future.

  20. BlueSky says:

    Hun sen needs to be remove he has bloods on his hands so does his wife stealing money from redcross

  21. BlueSky says:

    Mass protest was done befor he had his army of troops drove into the crowd and thru garnade and killed 44 people back in the 90s

  22. blue sky says:

    I live in cambodia so I know this country so clearly .Everything you say is very true .it is my homeland I know that it is not peacefull.anyone live with scareness .

  23. blue sky says:

    demorcracy is killed by Hun Sen.

  24. blue sky says:

    Hun Sen is corruption and cruelness.

  25. blue sky says:

    Anyone who said Your report was incorrect,Meaning the one is lying to the world and himself .

  26. Tarwin Wannatham says:

    he is lier.Khmer did not built angkor.They were slave annexing the Siamese master(khom). If french did not colonize khmer then the world will khow that Thailand(Siam)built Angkor.

  27. Basic Stupid girl says:

    Send help please

  28. Heart of Lions says:

    Just spent a year there. It’s a mafia state for sure. His private security force has cart Blanche with the army. The biggest threat if there is one would be one of the army units in the north. One of the generals occasionally goes rogue and makes a fuss with moving troops and firing a little artillery up north. Apart from army support the likelihood of an uprising would be dismal

  29. Richard Teh says:

    Hun sen a great leader his only Crime is he refuse to accept America one sided policy and demands now they have branded him a corrupted ditactor and evil regime killing his own people properganda by western media and Human Rights group like president Duterte of Philippine and Venezuela president

  30. Lypu khalay says:

    According to the set up election system, CPP won all the 125 seats in national assembly which means Cambodia will be a single party democracy that contradict to national Constitution (Rothomanunh). How can cpp won all the seat when there are 20 parties, you may ask? It's easy for cpp to win all the seat because most of those "opposition" parties are fake and/or too small in number, money and representative candidate to compete in all province. The key of cpp landslide win is because NEC has their "awesome" calculating system that allows the cpp to win all the seats in each province that have no owner. Let me illustrate how they divide the seat, example: if in a province has 100k registered voters, say they divide 10k will get a seat, this mean the total is 10 seats. Say cpp got total of 60k, and the rest of the voters vote for other parties or not it doesn't matter. What matter is no other parties received 10k to qualify for a seat. Thus, by magic equation, cpp doesn't only received 6 seat but also got 4 more automatically. Fair or not, if you ask cpp, they would say, "well, that how the rules work." So according to their own rules, cpp win their own game base on their own rules the most possible fair way.

  31. BunTheng Chim says:

    I stop sub u bc I don't like what u say about my country.

  32. Ratana OnceMoo says:

    Not every Cambodian hate him, guys. I'm Cambodian and i believe in our current prime minister. And why is everyone saying he's pol pot? We might not have the best thing in the world but we got enough to live. Idk what all of you expect from a country that used to have nothing (literally nth) 40 years ago. Everything takes time and he's working on it. 👌 peace

  33. Mai Kim Dang says:

    I am a australian cambodian/vietnamese and i hate this monster who doesnt care about human life he rules the country with fear who or anyone dare to oppose him will die. the UN needs to help and try to get rid of this monster

  34. Steven Chen says:

    Reality is no democracy can guarantee a good government. what people need is good government, not good democracy, which most people can't seem to recall. What every country need is good people able to take charge of the country, not phony election between 2 parties, choosing the less evil, or in this case, he vs himself. lols

  35. chan pol says:

    Cambodia has not experience in mass protect, they always depended from the other countries help (outsider help). Cambodian families are nuclear family, follow order top down, and teaching children not participating in political..

  36. Seng Reangsey says:

    Pretty accurate

  37. tan00002 says:

    Which country no corruption ? In France, there are too too much tax,The deputy had a very good pay ( 60'000€/month), but the corruption always exits.

  38. chengwa chan says:

    càmbodia stupid voters…

  39. MODERN NAVIES says:

    make video about duterte please

  40. Dylan Eastwood says:

    Half Cambo here!

  41. David Coleman says:

    However well-meaning, it was a huge mistake to try to impose western-style democracy on a country that has virtually no perception of what that is, and nothing in its history or culture that relates to it. Since the God-kings of Angkor, Cambodia has either chosen strong leaders or done nothing to resist them once they are in power. Horrible though it sounds, Cambodia just voted en-masse for a 1-party state. There is certainly a second Cambodia that has now lost its voice, and it's impossible to know for sure what percentage of the population that Cambodia represents. The fact remains that CNRP supporters could have abstained in the recent election but most of them didn't. We keep viewing Cambodia through a western lens and until our policies towards Cambodia take into account the Khmer psyche we will have no influence whatsoever.

  42. Lykong Chhay says:

    Pls help our country ;-;

  43. Wet Chicken says:

    i cringed when she said “khmer rougue”

  44. Thai says:

    VN: 11th corrupt nation

  45. Thai says:

    I'm sympathetic with the Cambodian

  46. sos hafiz says:

    You talk only about negative! How about positive? How about million of people who vote for his party? are supporters not Cambodian? or it fake numbers? Does democracy really work for all? How about Iraq after equipping with pour democracy? what ever you say about corruption, dictator, killing, land losing, poor education… on but the fact is Cambodia is growing constantly. For whom that live out side Cambodia and give up their nationality please care only about your new life. Please don't try to make up story to destroy our way! We don't need the leader who stay abroad! We need a leader who always stay with us in whatever condition and understand real situation!!

  47. Smd Ema says:

    He is corrupted period.

  48. CJ Mx391 says:

    He looks like big homie Duterte in the Philippines

  49. ydemas romra says:

    Hun sen need to stop selling cambodia"s land he need to be over throw now.

  50. Mearyeaurng says:

    Hello, why should Sdaj Hun Sen care? Look, he didn't even care when the International helped with the 1993 election. UN spent billions of dollars to monitor the election and at the end, even though Sdaj Hun Sen lost, he still won! lol

  51. Vannrith Va says:

    We tried, we failed..
    Government controls the whole army and police or gangs…
    Jail or die

  52. Salim Ly says:

    Quand Hun Sen avait libéré les millions de Cambodgiens du régime de Pol Pot, vous ne parlez aucun mot. A cette époque, où êtes vous, pourquoi ne venez pas libérer les Cambodgiens victimes de génocides des Khmers rouges entre 1975 et 1979?

  53. Davo the first says:

    Totally currupt !

  54. Morb Keo says:

    Basically, the country of Cambodia has been under the dictatorship of Hun Sen for over 30 years. It is a very corrupt country with a number of officials working selfishly. Despite the rapid economic growth, Cambodian government doesn't seem to work hard for the growth. In contrast, the country is growing as the globalization.

  55. Sky man says:

    Hun Sen will never get out the office even if there is mass protest he will simply use his military force to kill the protesters. The most effective way is to use military force on him and get him and his family out of Cambodia to stop his evilness and corruptions.

  56. Richard YI says:

    HUN SEN continues the economic, politic and environment GENOCIDE more than 30 years. Many people cannot afford to eat 3 meals per day because of Hun SEN's Regime. The regime shows fake informations as everything is fine.

  57. vet lie says:

    The election with over 700k tickets are not accountable and about 1200k of cambodian did not go to vote.

  58. ខេមរៈសិរីមន្ត bok says:


  59. Usman Ali says:

    That was 19s centrum killing not 20s

  60. J. J. says:

    Mangalsutra wali Bai… Nice look

  61. Johnca48 says:

    The entire Sen family needs to be eradicated. All of them.

  62. wwg1wga says:

    the UN huh??

  63. Vincent Corleone says:

    How exposed is he from his security forces? This would be a sniper's dream. Just sayin!

  64. บ่อทอง สิทธิ์ says:

    I wanna kill Hunsen

  65. Thong Kompheak says:

    I feel sad about my country,,,thanks for all story!!

  66. Task Force says:

    As a Cambodian I don’t really care I hate USA and all western country I only like china and Russia and France they are fav my cambodia pm do a lot of good stuff

  67. Engel Guzman says:

    He is a war criminal

  68. Pug The Pug says:

    Go against Hun Sen and his government then you will be murdered and fed to the crocodiles it's simple and true… so how are the khmer people ever going to have peace

  69. Asifur Rahman says:

    lol bangladesh is 4th

  70. Tea &Cats says:

    Us Viets be laughing in the corner…

  71. Vathana Srun says:

    When he’s young he’s looks like a Hong Kong mafia

  72. Alla Soiko says:

    Hun sen needs to go enough

  73. keo Phoung munireach says:

    2018 there no other parties left there is only CPP

  74. Nationalist Namofirse says:

    Why the heck he is using BJP flag on his shoulder in opening picture, or is it NowThis World propaganda.

  75. Sok Pek says:

    its on its way to being north korea without the nukes, I really want to visit but i don't want to give that goverment any of my money since it's not helping the people.

  76. Toy Chan says:

    Political corruption, dirty politics in Cambodia. Put opposition party in jail. Unfair election. Cambodia is totalitarian state.

  77. Jay23untouchable says:

    I'm a cambodian. Everything seems to be fine and improving from year to year here… As far as I know the lives of most people here has improved a lot. I'm pretty happy with the stability and economic growth that the country has right now.
    I'm just saying what I'm going through everyday.

  78. john hand says:

    That guy loves to be prime minister

  79. tep chea says:

    Hun Sen is a demon no mistake.

  80. Mony Jv says:

    Hun sen control all army.citizen live like no life

  81. Richy Deuk says:

    what do you mean Election what I lived in Cambodian right now that is no Election it just something to show not a real one and also I met one of hen sen aunt or something because my grandpa of connet

  82. Vanna Kwo says:

    Hun Sen​ is​ Monster of Cambodia he always killed his own people please ICC international bring him go jail he very bed of the world

  83. V L says:

    This one time when the vote results was being shown live on TV
    Another party was winning by a lot of votes
    But it was cut
    Then when it got back
    The other party’s vote just suddenly gone down

  84. Richard Teh says:

    Good leaders who care about his country and people will be branded a corrupt director by the west, western News and media will properganda lies about them by instigating hatred unrest and chaotic among the people against their own government

  85. Jimmy Chun says:

    How people let this happen all the time the us need to help Cambodia 🇰🇭 again

  86. Na Na says:

    Please leave Cambodia alone we want peace when Cambodia meet war where are you ?

  87. Mony says:

    I will kill hun sen if he stand next to me

  88. Mony says:

    I hate America too, because they said they have security for the world,and now Cambodia is corruption, did they help something?

  89. Ruzindana Jean -Marie says:

    Pulwama terror attack LIVE updates: Curfew continues in Jammu; people across India pay last respects to Jawans

    Banned terrorist organisation, allegedly backed by Pakistan, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack in the Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district…………..


  90. heekyung Kim says:

    Just returned from Cambodia. People are so friendly there and wonderful country with khmer empire history. Amazing site as Angkor wat. This Hun Sen guy is like mafia dictator. I hope for democracy in Cambodia one day. Power to the people.

  91. Dab Rebel says:

    I am Cambodian and never has realized the corruption in our small country. We have dealt with so much trouble…first losing lots land to our neighbors, then dealing with corrupted rulers…after that we have Khmer Rouge and get after that we get useless kings and…this. What has cambodia done to get so much trouble?

  92. T S says:

    Dictator is the law of the land!!! Justice in Cambodia is a joke! Hun Sen chiseled his opposition away , Mr kem sokah and Mr Sam Ransey were his oppositions .

  93. Great Jävän says:

    I would love to see Hun Sen fall, but most of us have one fear if he were to – he’s been running our country for so long that he is the only one with experience in doing so. If others were to be voted in, we’re scared that their lack of experience could drop us lower than we already are. What we need would be a mass protest with people who are publicly informed about this. We’ll just have to wait for the next election.

  94. learnhindiwithsanidhya in5 says:

    I think Hun Sen is going to keep ruling Cambodia

  95. Spurgeon wright Jr. says:

    The worse mass killings of any century took place in AFRICA!!!!!!

  96. Spurgeon wright Jr. says:


  97. Mony says:

    When people against Hunsen, he lead military force to destroy citizens with gun. U can see in 2014 election day. There are no democracy It's dictatorship and under control from Vietnam I think

  98. wayne kea says:

    Fake news have to be punished.

  99. wayne kea says:

    Hun Sen is the super hero helping millions lives of Cambodian in Khmer Rouge regime.Please don't try to make fake history and destabilizing of Cambodian.Cambodia has peace right now.Want to see real truth of Cambodia history look in France famous Journalists .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *