Political Parties in Cambodia 2023

While often described as a one-party state, in fact Cambodia is a multi-party democracy with a dominant-party system, namely the Cambodian Peoples Party being the dominant ones. 

To read about if Cambodia is a one-party-state click here.

The fact that there are multiple parties is visual for anyone who travels around the country, as well as for those of us woken up by the rallies of the different parties. Yet whilst there are many parties, few have much influence, with even less having the potential to govern.

This is though an important topic as 2023 will elections in Cambodia, the first since 2018 where the CPP took every seat and is likely to be the first parliament featuring more than one political party.

So, who are the political parties in Cambodia in 2023?

Major Political Parties in Cambodia

For major political parties in Cambodia as of 2023 there are really only three, with two being represented in the Cambodian senate and the third likely to name inroads in the next election.

Cambodian Peoples Party

In power since either 1975, or 1979 depending on how you view things, they are the party of power and have ushered in economic growth that has stood at an amazing 7.7 percent annually, at least before the pandemic. 

Their popularity though is about far more than just economics, with them also overthrowing the Khmer Rouge, as well initiating the Win-Win Policy that saw to the end of the civil war.

To read about the Win-Win policy click here

Their origins can be traced to the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party which you can read about here.


Originally the party of Sihanouk they remained a Royalist party of sorts even after Sihanouk became King. A big-tent party they almost won power in 1993, before losing it after the 1997 civil war. 

Have suffered numerous splits, infighting and a severe loss in prestige, not to mention a history of not once, but arguably three times costing up with the Khmer Rouge.

To read about Pol Pot lick here.

Candlelight Party

Arguably the Cambodian National Rescue Party, or as he put it himself the Sam Rainsy Party in all but name, they run on an anti-establishment platform, with elements of left and right thrown in with populism.

Despite being darlings of the west they are not without controversy and have not only had members arrested, but have faced accusations of merely being western puppets. 

You can read more about the Candlelight Party here (link to DK).

Minor Cambodian Political Parties

The following parties are seen throughout the country, but while they might be represented locally, are unlikely to make any national waves. 

Khmer National United Party

Described as Neo-liberal and socially conservative they were founded by former members of FUNCINPEC in 2016. In the 2018 election they came 5th and will most likely merge into their parent party at some point.

Khmer Will Party

Another fun one to look out for when you travel around Cambodia! Considered a small party, but you will see them throughout the country. Not much is known about what they stand for, but they did manage a 5th place finish in the 2018 General Election.

League for Democracy Party

Another popular one if you want to collect symbols like Pokemon Cards and can be seen throughout the country. Formed in 2006 they have 8 stated goals which are all about decentralizing power, sounds great right?

Well there is a bit more to this party, with their leader Khem Veasna being not only a conspiracy theorist, but a pseudo-cultist. He frequently criticizes monks and last year got his followers to join him at his house on the hill to avoid an oncoming flood. There was no flood……

Khmer Republican Party

Not one I have seen on my travels, but worth a mention simply for how small they are and what they stand for. Formed by the son of Lon Nol, the corrupt leader and founder of the Khmer Republic and an integral part in the deaths of so many people in Cambodia.

And you know what? They are not very popular. Another nationalist party they say they are not officially against the monarchy, which makes it a fairly rubbish republican party.

And that is the story of political parties in Cambodia in 2023, but with much time before the election expect many changes, mergers and people outright selling out. What you will not see though is a communist party taking part in the elections, with that ship well and truly sailed in Cambodia……