Election season in Cambodia has arrived. Cambodians will go to the polls on July 23 and the political environment on the ground in recent months indicates that political tensions are already on the rise. The consequences of those tensions have already been felt by opposition party officials, and by the independent press.
In early March, Kem Sokha, the former president of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was returned to house arrest after being sentenced to 27 years imprisonment for allegedly conspiring with foreign powers to overthrow the Cambodian state.
Meanwhile, two vice presidents of the embattled opposition Candlelight Party (CLP), Thach Setha and Son Chhay, have been entangled in legal limbo over alleged financial fraud and defamation, respectively. CLP senior adviser and veteran politician Kong Korm resorted to quitting politics altogether after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered his 1980s-era property confiscated; he was also slapped with a libel lawsuit.