Authoritarian rule shedding its populist skin: How loss of independent media in the 2017 crackdown shapes rural politics in Cambodia

Vanessa Lamb, Laura Schoenberger, Alice Beban, Jun Borras (ed.)

The Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) Working Paper Series, Paper No.70. | Published : 2018


Cambodia burst onto global news headlines when Supreme Court, stacked with ruling party affiliated judges, dissolved the main opposition party in November 2017. Behind this political spectacle lay a series of smaller changes—legal reforms, closures of independent media outlets, criminalisation of activists, creation of state-controlled social media platforms, as well as broader geopolitical shifts legitimating authoritarian rule—that paved the way for the crackdown. We argue that the Cambodian ruling party’s crackdown in 2017 signals a move away from an explicitly populist authoritarianism centred around Hun Sen -- the world’s longest ruling Prime Minister -- towards a deepening of authorita..

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University of Melbourne Researchers