BGA Cambodia Deputy Managing Director Sophea Ros wrote an update to clients on how Cambodia’s amended election laws have weakened the opposition ahead of the general country’s upcoming general election.


  • Cambodia’s National Assembly within a month of the country’s July 23 general election unanimously approved an amendment to the country’s election law that prohibits candidates who have not voted in the last two elections from running for office. Introduced under the pretense of promoting civic responsibility, the amendment has been panned as a thinly veiled attempt to disqualify members of the political opposition who have left Cambodia to avoid persecution or boycott elections they consider unfair, eliminating the prospect of a free and fair election. The changes have since been validated by the Constitutional Council and promulgated by the king.
  • Voters will elect 125 members of the National Assembly from 18 competing parties in the next general election. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is all but guaranteed an absolute majority, allowing it to form the next government that will rule from 2023-2028. A government reshuffle is expected shortly after the election concludes.
  • The opposition Candlelight Party was on May 15 disqualified from competing in the upcoming election for its failure to properly register. Cambodia’s opposition remains fractured, important political figures have joined the CPP in exchange for government roles, several leaders are in the middle of court proceedings and certain individuals have been banned from engaging in politics. Self-exiled Sam Rainsy will not return to Cambodia, and Kem Sokha was found guilty of treason, sentenced to 27 years of house arrest and banned from politics for life.


  • Key opposition figures have called for a boycott of what they claim will be an unfair election. The opposition pursued this strategy in 2018, but more than 80 percent of the electorate turned out to vote to avoid associating with the opposition. The Cambodia National Rescue Party, the main opposition party at the time, was dissolved ahead of polling day.
  • The new amendment disqualifies candidates who did not vote in the last two elections or called for a boycott or ballot nullification. Violators will be fined KHR 5-20 million ($1,200-$4,800). Parties that do not remove disqualified candidates will be fined KHR 10-30 million ($2,400-$7,300).


  • Businesses should expect a stable political and investment environment over the long term. The government will continue to prioritize Cambodia’s graduation to an upper middle-income economy by 2030 and a high-income economy by 2050. Companies should continue to engage with government stakeholders to help shape policies, laws and regulations.
  • The amended law will pave the way for the next generation of politicians to take the helm. Hun Sen’s son Hun Manet, the CPP favorite for Cambodia’s next premier, will likely maintain his father’s policies should he become head of government.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Cambodia as they occur. If you have any comments or questions, please contact BGA Cambodia Deputy Managing Director Sophea Ros at

Best regards,

BGA Cambodia Team