IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


8th August, 2023 Geography


The political situation and transition of power in Cambodia.


  • Hun Sen, one of the world's longest-serving leaders, announced his resignation as prime minister after a landslide victory in July's election.
  • His eldest son, Dr. Hun Manet, is set to become the next prime minister.
  • The election has been criticized for lacking fairness due to the exclusion of the main opposition party.

Continued Dominance of Hun Sen

  • Hun Sen pledges not to interfere but promises to continue his political influence.
  • Concerns raised about a dynastic succession similar to North Korea.

Hun Sen's Legacy and Criticisms

  • Hun Sen came to power in 1985, modernizing a post-conflict Cambodia.
  • His rule was criticized for environmental damage, corruption, and eliminating political rivals.
  • International bodies like the US, UN, and EU condemned the recent election as unfair.

Uncertain Political Future

  • Hun Manet, groomed for leadership, lacks political experience.
  • Unlikely to adopt a more liberal approach than his father, despite Western education.
  • Holds positions in the ruling party and the Cambodian army.

International Relations

  • Hun Manet has engaged with world leaders, including China's President Xi Jinping.
  • China is a significant ally and benefactor of Cambodia.

Hun Sen's Transition

  • Hun Sen to become president of the Senate and acting head of state when the king is abroad.

About Cambodia

  • Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south.
  • The country has a diverse landscape including lowlands, forests, mountains, and the Mekong River.


  • Cambodia has a rich history, with the Khmer Empire being a prominent ancient civilization that built iconic temples like Angkor Wat.
  • Cambodia was a French colony from the mid-19th century until gaining independence in 1953.
  • The country experienced political instability, including the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979), which led to widespread suffering and loss of life.
  • After years of conflict, Cambodia has been striving for stability and development since the 1990s.

Culture and Heritage

  • A UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat is an iconic temple complex and a symbol of Cambodia's cultural heritage.
  • Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion, shaping daily life and cultural practices.
  • Traditional dance, music, and crafts like silk weaving are integral to Cambodian culture.


  • The economy relies heavily on agriculture, with rice being a staple crop.
  • The garment and textile industry is a major contributor to Cambodia's exports and employment.
  • Tourism is growing, with visitors attracted to historical sites, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.


  • Cambodia faces challenges in reducing poverty and improving living standards for its population.
  • Corruption can hinder economic development and effective governance.
  • Deforestation and illegal wildlife trade are environmental concerns.

Recent Developments

  • Cambodia has shown consistent economic growth, attracting foreign investment and improving infrastructure.
  • The country's political landscape has been dominated by one party, raising concerns about democratic processes.
  • Cambodia maintains relations with neighboring countries and is a member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)

Tourism and Attractions

  • Angkor Archaeological Park: Home to Angkor Wat and numerous other ancient temples, drawing tourists from around the world.
  • Phnom Penh: The capital city offers a mix of historical sites, bustling markets, and vibrant street life.
  • Coastal Areas: Sihanoukville and nearby islands boast beautiful beaches and opportunities for relaxation


  • Rice and noodles are staples, often accompanied by vegetables, seafood, and meat.
  • Amok is a popular dish made with fish, coconut milk, and spices, steamed in banana leaves.
  • Cambodia offers a variety of flavorful street food options, reflecting its diverse culinary influences.


  • Khmer: The official language, spoken by the majority of the population.
  • English: English is increasingly spoken, especially in urban areas and the tourism industry.

Future Outlook

  • Cambodia aims to achieve sustainable economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve social indicators.
  • The challenge lies in modernizing while preserving its rich cultural heritage.


Q) Which factors have significantly contributed to Cambodia's historical and cultural identity?


A) The influence of Hinduism and Buddhism, resulting in the creation of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

B) The colonial rule by the British Empire, leading to the preservation of traditional Cambodian art forms.

C) The discovery of oil reserves in the late 20th century, revolutionizing Cambodia's economy.

D) The establishment of a communist regime in the 1960s, fostering artistic and literary innovation.

Answer: A