Cambodians will go to the polls to select their local councillors on 5 June 2022. The main contestants are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the Candlelight Party. To many observers of democratic development in Cambodia, the dissolution of the main opposition party in 2017 makes this election less of a democratic vehicle to peaceful power transfer and more of a political tool for the ruling CPP’s legitimacy.
The last elections were in 2017, when the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), a merger between the long-time opposition Sam Rainsy Party and the relatively new Human Rights Party, performed well. The election was followed by the government dissolving CNRP.
Cambodia’s democracy emerged from the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 but has never been consolidated. Democratic institutions remain lacking in terms of their representation, independence and accountability. The state of human rights and liberties have fluctuated over the years.