Cambodia and Democracy
Research papers on the efforts of Cambodia to transition toward democracy can be custom written for you at Paper Masters. Topic ideas include discussing the fact that since the Vietnamese military retreated in 1989, Cambodia has been struggling toward democratic consolidation. The Paris Peace Conference of 1991 made strides toward this goal by creating a democratic constitution and enforcing a tenuous truce between Cambodia's warring political parties. Two elections have taken place since then, both barely democratic, and Cambodia seems unable to reach consolidation.
Your research paper on Cambodia and democracy should show that the greatest obstacles to democratic consolidation were:
- Lack of democratic institutions and culture
- Human rights violations
- The refusal of political parties to accept the basic principles of democratic government
Cambodia's authoritarian political culture is mainly the result of the Khmer Rouge Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) takeover of Cambodia. Led by Pol Pot, this insurgent party espoused a policy of rapid socialism, where the urban population was forced to relocate to the countryside and work on rice farms. The government murdered those who did not endorse this policy. When Pol Pot determined that his rapid development plan was failing, he purged the ranks of the CPK, creating further devastation. In 1978, the Vietnamese government invaded Cambodia, and ousted the CPK from power. From this point, until the 1991 peace initiative, Cambodia was governed by a series of unstable coalition regimes.
Obstacles to Democracy
The government infrastructure lacks many of the elements necessary for democratic consolidation.The United States State Department reported:
Democratic institutions, especially the judiciary, remain weak. The judiciary is subject to influence by the executive branch and is marred by inefficiency, a lack of training, a shortage of resources, and corruption related to low wages. Research our writers have found sites the following:
Little effort was made until early 1999 to prosecute government officials for human rights violations. The United Nations will undertake this judicial activity, perhaps without the cooperation of the Cambodian government.
The legislative branch is also weak compared to the executive. In March 1999, a Senate met for the first time since being created in the new coalition negotiations. The legislative branch has proportionate numbers of representatives from the major political parties, but has not been in existence long enough to act as a viable check on executive power.
Opposition parties are not allowed the opportunity for expression or political activity. The Cambodian constitution provides for freedom of expression, but the government has restricted this freedom frequently. Human Rights Watch reports that over the past year opposition groups were given access to broadcast media only during the thirty day campaign period (Human Rights Watch, 6). The government has closed several radio stations and newspapers, claiming that they have violated the 1995 Press Law that prohibits publication of material detrimental to political stability. This limitation of free speech has forced some journalists to censor their own work, rather than face government harassment and violence.