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The transformative power of elections in Cambodia’s democratic journey

Supporters of various political parties campaign ahead of the July 23 general election.
Supporters of various political parties campaign ahead of the July 23 general election. Heng Chivoan

The transformative power of elections in Cambodia’s democratic journey

Cambodia’s national election on July 23 is a historic moment that reflects the country’s commitment to peace, stability and prosperity. It is argued that elections play a pivotal role in shaping Cambodia’s path towards a prosperous, inclusive, and self-determined nation. 

By recognising the values of votes by the people and understanding the delicate balance between sovereignty and democracy, Cambodia can embrace the transformative potential of elections to foster progress and empowerment.

The core values of votes by the people

In a democratic society, the values of votes by the people are fundamental to shaping the nation’s trajectory. Each vote represents an individual’s voice, beliefs and aspirations as a responsible citizen. It empowers citizens to actively participate in the decision-making process and ensures inclusivity, equality and accountability in governance. Every vote is a catalyst for change, symbolising empowerment and reaffirming the principles on which democracy thrives.

Sovereignty and democracy

Cambodia’s historical experiences have shaped its approach to sovereignty and democracy. While sovereignty is crucial for stability and development, it is important to recognise that it can coexist with democracy. The pursuit of a prosperous, inclusive and self-determined Cambodia requires a delicate balance that upholds both principles. Cambodia’s commitment to democracy while preserving sovereignty will pave the way for a stronger nation.

The journey towards democracy

Cambodia’s democratic process has encountered obstacles, but it has also made significant progress. Democratisation is not a linear path; it involves navigating challenges, addressing historical legacies and ensuring inclusive political participation. Cambodia’s resilience in the face of setbacks highlights its unwavering commitment to democratic values. This election represents another milestone in Cambodia’s peaceful and prosperous democratic journey.

Upholding the rule of law in democracy

As Cambodia aspires to a multi-party liberal democracy, it is essential to emphasise the importance of the rule of law. While freedom of expression and political freedom are vital, they should not overshadow the rule of law or enable populism. Cambodia’s democracy should align with its historical context, cultural identity and commitment to peaceful coexistence and tolerance.

Elections for peace, stability and progress

Cambodia’s democracy is a transformative force that aligns with its historical and social context, as well as its economic development. Elections play a crucial role in ensuring peace, political stability, sustainable development and social progress. The upcoming national election will solidify Cambodia’s commitment to these values, providing an opportunity for diverse voices to shape the nation’s future.

As Cambodia progresses on its democratic journey, the importance of elections cannot be overstated. By embracing the values of votes by the people, Cambodia paves the way for a brighter future where citizens’ aspirations guide the nation towards sustainable development, social progress and inclusivity. This national election symbolises Cambodia’s unwavering commitment to democracy, peace and prosperity, offering an opportunity to further strengthen the nation’s democratic foundations.

Norn Samnangseymony is a research fellow at the Centre for Culture and Peace Studies (CCPS) and Programme Coordinator at the Centre for Advanced Research and Legal Studies (CARLS), Asian Vision Institute (AVI).

The views expressed in this article are his own.


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