In the East Asia and the Pacific region, Cambodia came in last place out of 15 countries included in the report, and last in the group of 30 lower-middle income countries.
Even those who consider themselves supporters of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party said they felt under pressure.
On Wednesday, Rainsy asked Hun Sen on Twitter to “postpone the next national elections until we all have guarantees that those polls meet minimum international standards.”
There is no doubt here that the commune council controlled by CPP is going to vote for the CPP despite the secret ballot.
Thousands of opposition officials and activists have joined the Cambodian People’s Party after the government shut down their party in November. But under surveillance and heavy pressure, how much choice do they have?
The government hoped the ceremony would project an image of tranquility, quite opposed to the image of political repression its critics have described in recent months.
On Thursday, Washington announced it was cutting $1.8 million in aid to the country’s national election body, a move Hun Sen claimed was intended to kill off Cambodian democracy.
The opposition’s strategy is to call for international sanctions, to lobby for the release of Sokha and other political prisoners, and to pave the way for the CNRP to be allowed to contest in next year's election.
Rong Chhun, a former unionist and NEC member, said the nominations were in violation of the law.
A Funcinpec spokesperson said it is wrong for Cambodian people to see the move as anti-democratic.
Ambassador William Heidt said he felt a deep regret at the government’s decision to move to dissolve the CNRP, which has led the White House to reconsider its foreign relations with Cambodia.
In an interview with VOA Khmer in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Heidt said the embassy’s mission to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Cambodia remained of paramount importance.