The 7th Session of “Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies”: A Study of Cambodian Party Politics
On the afternoon of November 27th, 2020, the 7th session of ” Area Studies Across the Boundaries: Southeast Asian Studies” Series Lectures” was held at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building of Tsinghua University, with the theme of ” A Study of Cambodian Party Politics”, delivered by Prof. Gu Jiayun, Associate Professor and Vice Dean of School of Asian Studies and Director of Khmer Study Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Around the key concept of “party politics”, Prof. Gu kicked off the event by distinguishing “party” from “party politics”. Next, he reviewed the origin, history and evolution of Cambodian party politics. Finally, he analyzed the Cambodian party politics today.
Prof. Gu explained the origin of Cambodian party politics to the audience in three aspects, namely the historical background, the emergence of the three “Prince” parties and the 1947 Cambodian Constitution. Then, through the changes in the party system and total seats of Cambodia’s several parliaments, he further explored the development and evolution of Cambodian party politics and pointed out the influence of western democratic systems and thoughts on Cambodian party politics in terms of organizational structure, interaction, ideology, political ideas and political practices. Finally, Prof. Gu analyzed the contemporary Cambodian party politics from three perspectives, i.e., the construction of the party system, the relationship between major parties and the political influence of the long-term ruling of the People’s Party, and stressed that the Cambodian party system is maturing and the party law is improving. Although the electoral system adopted in Cambodia is not conducive to one-party dominance, the long-term ruling of Hun Sen and the People’s Party is not only an embodiment of the Party’s ability, but also shows to a certain extent that Cambodia’s traditional political culture plays an obvious role, and the emergence of “Leviathan” can ensure the ongoing stability of Cambodia’s political order.
Prof. Gu Jiayun currently serves as Associate Professor and Vice Dean of School of Asian Studies and Director of Khmer Study Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University. His research interest covers Indosinian politics, Cambodian party politics and political culture. He has published a number of academic articles in Guangming Daily and Southeast Asian Studies. Several of his research reports have been adopted at or above the provincial and ministerial levels.