>Singular Power Beating Democracy: Expert

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08 July 2008

The power of individuals has increased in recent years in Cambodia, but the power of the masses, democracy, has not, a leading researcher said Monday.

“Democracy is poor, but individual power is strong,” said Lao Monghay (pictured), a senior researcher at the Asian Human Rights Commission, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

Much of the country’s political power remained in the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Monghay said.

The recent arrest of an opposition newspaper editor, Dam Sith, and court actions against opposition leader Sam Rainsy attested to a dampening of freedoms, an increase of media restrictions, and the increased politicization of the courts, he said.

“The lack of a rule of law weakens democracy and there is no progress,” he said. “Through training from NGOs, the media and other forums, people understand democracy, but most important is, how can they have the freedom to address it?”

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