The Cambodian politics revolve around constitutional monarchy with the head of government. The governance of the country has been influenced by several issues, which are internally intrigued. Different bodies in the government have failed to create room for proper governance in the country. Following the issues that surround the governance of the country different people have been trying to analyze how the situation in Cambodia can be curbed as well as analyzing what are the main causes of the situation. Andreas Schedler and Duncan McCargo are political analysts who have taken the fate of the Cambodian politics at heart and developed analysis on the system of governance. Schedler and McCargo seem not to have a common stand on the governance of Cambodia.
Schedler believes that nondemocratic regimes are over. He says that the fall of the Soviet Union dictated for the approval of democratic governance among all nations in the world. He believes that this period marked the end of the authoritarian defense after different countries have been exposed to massive dictatorship. He claims that liberal democracy was introduced into the world, which was characterized by personal rights and liberties, constitutional government, checks and balances, the rule of law and functional and territorial power division. The views of McCargo are downright divergent to what Schedler thought about the modern governance in reference to Cambodia. McCargo believes that democracy has not yet been employed into the world’s administration. He defines Cambodia as a land where governance is entrusted to the same people for a long period of time. According to McCargo, Cambodia has not yet developed a well constituted form of government which would stand for fair governance without any room for dictatorship.
Schedler believes that the introduction of the multiparty system since the abolishment of the Soviet Union was the beginning of democracy in any government in the world. He claims that the single party systems have disappeared, and governments have upheld multiparty systems. He claims that democratic institutions in any government hold multiparty elections at all positions. The electoral bodies have to ensure that the elections are fair and democratic. On the other hand, McCargo has a different perspective over how elections are conducted in most countries with Cambodia being the example. He says that the existence of multiparty is allowed, but the leadership is still determined by certain powers in the government. He gives the example of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Hun Sen. This is the longest ruling party in Cambodia even after the introduction of the multiparty system. The leader of the party does not believe that his party would ever be counted as minor with another party governing the region. McCargo claims elections in Cambodia to be like a side show since the winner is declared before they are conducted. This is contrary to what Schedler thinks as there is no democracy that is being portrayed to Cambodia through multiparty system of governance. Leaders do not believe that any other party apart from CPP could not govern Cambodia. This is the reason why after an election where the Prime Minister Hun Sen is claimed to have lost a war elapses resulting to massive killings in the region.
Schedler believes that the modern society should participate in the governance. This means that the ruling government should allow certain parties to undertake certain roles in the government to assist the leader in governance. According to him, institutional governance would be a sign of democracy. Institutions in the government should be given equal powers to that of the president to govern certain issues in the government. However, he realizes that this may not be possible at the first instance. It is a gradual process where authoritarian rulers will understand the significance of democratic governance as time elapses. He claims that these leaders will always try to bring in forces that will challenge governance by any other individual or body in the country. He claims that independence of operation should be given to institutions like the legislature, media, electoral body and the judiciary. They want a situation where their ideas will dominate the views of other people. McCargo and Schedler share some views on this issue. McCargo clearly understands that Cambodia has not yet come to a level where democracy is highly upheld, and there is no way the governing Prime Minister would allow an institution to govern on certain issues. The leadership believes that issues in the government should be centrally governed with no interference by another body. Even after proposals for coalition governance, chaos is witnessed where different parties push for dominance. McCargo argues that the existence of multiparty system of governance in Cambodia is squarely challenged. It reaches a point where the CPP joins hand with the SRP party to ensure that they form a tribunal that would bar the country from going into elections without a uniform government. This is the sign of how sensitive issue of governance by multiparty system and institutional based leadership was to the Cambodian leaders.
Schedler and McCargo are two individuals trying to evaluate the existence of democracy in modern governance with reference to Cambodia. They have different views on how authoritarian governance has dominated some countries in the world. Schedler stands for a transforming leadership while McCargo does not recognize any change on how authoritarian governance has continued to dominate a country like Cambodia.
Duncan, McCargo. "Cambodia: Getting Away with Authoritarianism?." Journal of Democracy 16, no. 4 (2005): 98-112.
Schedler, Andreas. "Authoritarianism's Last Line of Defense." Journal of Democracy 21, no. 1 (2010): 69-80.