Sam Rainsy, the former leader of the the Cambodian National Rescue Party, speaks to the Asia Media Centre about the ‘totalitarian drift’ in the country, and the rise in Cambodia's opposition unity.
What’s the political situation in Cambodia now?
There is a totalitarian drift. It’s very worrying. We had a military coup 20 years ago in 1997, but this year we had another coup – not a military but a constitutional coup. The fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution are suspended. The democratic institutions and mechanisms do not work; they are blocked. Our prime minister, Hun Sen, has seized all powers.
There is a very brutal crackdown, as evidenced by the arrest and detention of the leader of the opposition leader [Kem Sokha]. And there is only one opposition party. The unity of democratic opposition is a new phenomenon, the first time in Cambodia’s recent history. This has changed the political landscape and brought the opposition neck-to-neck with the ruling party, in spite of many election irregularities.
Had the  election been fair and honest – a real election, I mean – the democratic opposition would have won. That is why there is so much frustration. The people feel that the election did not reflect their will. That is why they call for a real election. This makes Hun Sen very afraid because Hun Sen knows that any real election would make him lose power.
– Asia Media Centre