Is there still Communist Party in Cambodia?

Cercle Marxiste

Is there still a communist party in Cambodia? The short answer is that there no there is not, but the ruling Cambodian Peoples Party do trace their lineage from the former ruling Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party (KPRP).

Is the Cambodian Peoples Party communist?

The Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) trace their lineage to the 1951 formation of the Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party (KPRP) itself a continuation of the Indochinese Communist Party.

The KPRP would become the Maoist Workers Party of Kampuchea in 1960, before later becoming the infamous Communist Party of Kampuchea.

After Democratic Kampuchea fell the rebels communists who proclaimed the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea were led by the reformed Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party (KPRP). Said party tarred lineage to 1951 while disavowing the party from 1960-79.

When the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea changed into the State of Cambodia the KPRK became the Cambodian Peoples Party. Since then the party has moved further and further from communism and is generally considered a big tent party if the centre-right. It does though still have some communistic elements, such as a Politburo among other slightly less savory elements.

Let-wing parties in Cambodia

Currently there is only one party with representation in the Cambodian parliament and that is the CPP. Other parties though are at least tacitly tolerated, with them holding varying political beliefs.

Of these parties two “main parties” namely the Candlelight Party and the Grassroots Democratic Party have self-labelled as centre-left, although this has been heavily questioned by many, particular with their links Cambodian-Americans.

Despite sounding left-wing the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party is an actuality a xenophobic nationalist party.

Communist Party in Cambodia

Does anyone still support Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge?

Officially at least the answer to this question is no, particularly at an organized level, but in reality places such as Pailin and Anlong Veng are still controlled by the Khmer Rouge.

And with regards to Pol Pot many Khmer will tell you under hushed voices that he was not only not to blame for the excesses, but was a good nationalist leader. Little of this though appears to be as part of a hankering for communism.

Ironically one of the biggest signs of left-wing or communist life in Cambodia that I have seen has been through the Cambodian branch of the Korean Friendship Association. During the rule of the Khmer Rouge Cambodia enjoyed excellent relations with North Korea, although the DPRK was closer politically to King Sihanouk.