Analysts Question Motives Behind Cambodia’s Plan to ‘Strengthen Democracy’ After Divisive Election

Cambodia’s government on Monday outlined a plan to “strengthen democracy and political space” in the country following a divisive election, but observers said the proposal is aimed at alleviating international pressure and does not go far enough in rolling back restrictions put in place ahead of July’s ballot.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cambodia plans to amend the country’s political party law to lift a five-year ban on the political activities of 118 senior members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November last year for its role in an alleged plot to topple the government.

Cambodia’s government also vowed to promote “genuine partnership” with civil society groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), address matters related to labor and trade union rights, uphold press freedom and freedom of expression, and address longstanding land disputes by accelerating nationwide land registration, Monday’s statement said.

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