A kind of democracy: Political domination in the problematic development
Miller, M. B. L. (2011). A kind of democracy: Political domination in the problematic development (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5599
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5599
This thesis proposes to answer the question of how despite Cambodia having an election in 1993 in which the Cambodian people elected a government that adopted a constitution based on democratic principles, one party, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) led by prime minister Hun Sen, has continued to dominate Cambodian politics in a political environment so biased in its favour that it calls into question the credibility of democracy in Cambodia. This thesis contends that Hun Sen and the CPP’s political domination of Cambodia is the result of a combination of historical, cultural, and political factors that together have created Cambodia’s current political environment. These factors include (a) inherent cultural traits that have made the state susceptible to authoritarian rule by placing an emphasis on the development of patronage networks that are anti-democratic by nature, (b) historical and political developments that have made the state’s elite hostile to political opposition and participation, (c) psychological and economic damage caused by decades of civil war and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s wanton destruction of Cambodian society, (d) an imposed transition to democracy supervised by the United Nations and lacking an indigenous origin, (e) a political economy designed to the advantage of the CPP, (f) fragmented opposition parties that have failed to provide a viable alternative to the CPP, and (g) perhaps most importantly, the determination of Hun Sen and the CPP to remain in power regardless of the cost to democracy. This thesis builds upon a theoretical framework derived from a survey of the literature addressing democracy and democratisation and proceeds to analyse historical and political developments chronologically in order to emphasise the progressive nature of political domination in Cambodia. Although it does not offer any easy solutions to the complex and often intractable problems hindering the development of democracy in Cambodia, by analysing the nature of political domination in that country it adds to the understanding of present-day Cambodia.
University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses