As Party. Hence, according to Soeung (2017), Senator

As
having mentioned above, there are many contributing factors that blow to the terminal
decline of democracy in Cambodia. Deep down, this can be
viewed as a theory of the structural realism that the government of Hun Sen is
applying. This concept has tremendously spoiled the fragile democratic practice
that have just been recovered in 1993 along with the assistance of United
Nation peacebuilders and peacekeepers which is known as the United Nation
Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). By taking a deeper analysis, as
Cambodian People’s Party has been in the governmental power since 1993, they tend
to use any possible strategy in order to remove the upcoming threats for the
next national election in 2018 so that they would be able to enjoy excising and
maximizing their power and party’s interests for another term.

Cambodian
People’s Party’s primary approach towards their ambition of winning the next
national poll is to crackdown any press and non-government organization (NGO)
that have always been a political challenge and have considerately criticized the
government’s performance and action since the previous elections (Soeung, 2017). Typically, those
criticism would surely defame their party and somehow it would lead to a
reduction in publicity from voters; this scenario has already happened in 2013
general election in which Cambodian People’s Party has lost a huge amount of
votes to Cambodia National Recuse Party. Hence, according to Soeung (2017), Senator John McCain, Congressmen Alan
Lowenthal and Steve Chabot have emphasized on the 2018 general election
in Cambodia that it does not seem to be a free and fair democratic ballot
because it has been threatened by powerful actors in this state. Lowenthal has also claimed that
it is very vital to start putting sanction on the ruling Cambodia’s People
Party government with the aim of promoting democracy in Cambodia and turning
Cambodia away from being an autocracy. Many diplomats, donors and experts including John Lansing, CEO of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors, strongly suggest the Cambodian government to reconsider about
those decisions on shutting down independent media and NGOs in order to
guarantee full political and civil rights, and media freedoms (Soeung, 2017).

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Despite
those criticisms and recommendations from International Arena, the current
Cambodian government has ignored them and the ruling party tends to maximize
their power and eliminate those who block the way to achieve their interests. Moreover,
the attempt to get rid of the political presence of a main opposition party known
as Cambodia National Rescue Party
have been many time so far. Basically, the government accused a former president of Cambodia
National Rescue Party, Sam Rainsy, of defamation conviction which is contradict
to a principle of democracy that allows people to express their thought
publicly; therefore he has been in self-imposed in France since 2015. According
to  SOLOMON (2016), Sam Rainsy has
claimed that the government ruled by Cambodia People’s Party has intended to
push him away from Cambodia particularly from 2018 general election since he
appeared to be a major political rival to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Rainsy continued that it was truly illegal to bar him from returning back to
Cambodia because he holds a Cambodian Citizenship thus he cannot be banned from
his home country; he also drew the international attention that “It is crystal
clear now that they just want to discard me from the electoral process, meaning
that they fear my presence.” (SOLOMON, 2016). Hun Sen’s government has no
intention to stop his progress because back then his government has filed a
lawsuit to dissolve a main opposition party, Cambodia National Recuse Party, in
Cambodia which has been a major threat to his rule in the next election. Head (2017)
reports that in September
2017 the government ruled by Cambodia’s People Party has desperately arrested
Kem Sokha, the successor of Sam Rainsy’s presidency, during the night time in
his house without any consent from the court. Particularly, after getting him
arrested, the court announced his conviction for conspiring with United States
to capture the governmental power. Back then, Cambodia National Rescue Party
has also been accused of intending to topple the government in order to grab
the governmental seat. Due to this claim, the Supreme Court of Cambodia decided
to dissolve this main opposition party and ban over 100 politicians from
participating in politics (Head, 2017).
Kem Monovithya, Kem Sokha’s daughter, has appealed to
the international actors to take action in Cambodia in order to find a
fundamental solution towards democracy and human rights in her country.
Therefore, western countries and European Union has condemned Cambodian
government’s political behavior and assumed that it is a negative approach of
democracy, which means the crackdown on opposition party would cause unfairness
in 2018 election (Thul, 6).

After restricting on public expression and media
freedoms, and dissolving Cambodia National Rescue Party, the government of Hun
Sen has been trying to get supported from China so as to get recognized for
2018 election even his government has been largely complained by United States
and European Union. From the White House in United State, a spokesman stated
that the next year’s election does not seem to be free, fair, legitimate and
inclusive; therefore United States does not recognize that election and
withdraw from funding (Lefevre & Thul, 2017). Likewise, the
Europeans states does not feel comfortable with all these human rights and
democratic violations; for that reason, the European Union has decided to
restrict on trade flow between Cambodia and European with the purpose of demanding
Cambodian Government to adjust this disrespected actions to democracy (Lefevre & Thul, 2017). Even both US and EU
withdrew from assisting Cambodia’s National Election Committee for next
year’s election, China has replaced their place and donate money and equipment
for the election (Service,
2017).
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Center for Development and Peace (PDP),
told RFA’s Khmer Service that it is not a good sign by
letting a communist state to provide electoral assistance in a democratic state
like Cambodia (Service,
2017). Therefore, it can be finalized that the election in
2018 is not credible because all these appear to be a tool and a strategy that
allow Cambodian People’s Rescue Party to possess the power legally for another
term of ruling.

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