Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

(21) The Cambodian 2018 Election: Youth, Party Strategies, and the New Political Landscape

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Tyler, Mezzanine Level

Sponsored By Center for Khmer Studies

Electoral democracy in Cambodia is at a critical juncture. In the two decades following the parliamentary elections organized by the United Nations in 1993, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party secured and strengthened its political control. Yet the tight results of the 2013 national election unexpectedly disrupted this trend. The opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party garnered 44.5% of the popular vote compared to the CPP’s 49%. Since then, the CPP has fought to regain this lost ground by creating new policies to appease voters and deploying intimidation tactics to suppress the opposition party. The 2017 local elections left the question of Cambodia’s political future uncertain, with both parties claiming successful results. With the July 2018 national election approaching, this interdisciplinary panel addresses the pressing issue of whether and how this election is part of a significant change in Cambodian politics. The country has undergone dramatic transformations in recent years, including rapid economic growth, expanding access to education, the spread of information technologies, and a demographic boom wherein nearly 50% of the electorate is under the age of 30. How are these changes related to the CPP’s increasingly tenuous grip on power? What roles are youth playing in politics? Are citizens engaging with elections in new ways, and how are political parties responding? By bringing together perspectives from political science, anthropology, and legal studies to address these questions, this panel will offer important insights in a time of deep uncertainty for the future of electoral democracy in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Presentations:

Jennifer Estes

University of Wisconsin - Madison, Washington

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Caroline Hughes

University of Bradford, England, United Kingdom

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    Netra Eng

    Cambodia Development Resource Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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    Jennifer Estes

    University of Wisconsin - Madison, Washington

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    Astrid Norén-Nilsson

    Lund University, Skane Lan, Sweden

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    Benjamin Lawrence

    University of Victoria, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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    Kheang Un

    Northern Illinois University, Illinois

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      Caroline Hughes

      University of Bradford, England, United Kingdom

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