Voters in Cambodia head to the polls on July 29, 2018 to elect the country’s National Assembly. Join the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada for a conversation with two Cambodia watchers who will share their insights into the elections and possible post-election political developments.
The lead-up to this election has been fraught with tension. Current Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held the position since 1985 and is Asia’s longest-serving prime minister, is seeking another term. Meanwhile, concerns have been raised within and outside Cambodia about a lack of genuine political competition and the erosion of freedom of the press. Last year, the largest opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), was dissolved and its leader jailed, while the Phnom Penh Post, the last independent English-language news outlet in the country, was sold in May to a Malaysian businessman with ties to the Cambodian government.
How this will all net out for the people of Cambodia—specifically, whether they will get pulled further into an authoritarian undertow—remains to be seen.
About the Presenters:
Gordon served in the Royal Canadian Navy before joining the (then) Department of External Affairs, with diplomatic postings in Vietnam, Japan (twice), Korea and Thailand. He was Deputy High Commissioner in India from 1991-95, and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia from 1995-99. He is currently a Research Associate of the Institute of Asian Research at UBC and is active with the Vancouver Branch of the Canadian International Council. He has monitored two previous Cambodian elections.
Darren Touch is a candidate in the Masters of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC and a recent graduate from the University of Ottawa with a baccalaureate in the Joint Honours Political Science and Public Administration (Co-op) program. Darren was formerly a Junior Policy Associate at the Public Policy Forum. He has also worked with Canada's Digital Policy Forum, the Government of Canada at Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Employment and Social Development Canada. Darren was also the youngest-serving president of the Cambodian Association of the Ottawa Valley and the former Vice-President of the Academic Affairs for the public administration program at the University of Ottawa.