2019 年 65 巻 1 号 p. 79-95
Since the end of the 1990s, Cambodia has become politically stable and achieved an unprecedented level of economic performance under the authoritarian rule by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). It came into power after overthrowing the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot in 1979. With a focus on the Leninist-type party control over the state and the society which was inherited from the 1980s, this study examines how the CPP maintains a firm grip on power and pursues economic development. More specifically, based on the party documents and fieldwork conducted in Cambodia, this study analyzes the structure and organizational principles of the CPP, the relationship between the party and the state, and the CPP’s membership recruitment. This study consists of three sections. In the first section, after reviewing the political process in the country in the 1990s, it shows that the constitutional amendment in 2006 and the CPP’s landslide victory in the 2008 National Assembly elections determine the establishment of the one-party dominant regime by the end of the 2000s. The second section reveals that the CPP has preserved the composition of the party leadership and the organizational principles, that is, democratic centralism since the 1980s when Marxism-Leninism was the official ideology of the party; and has penetrated into the state and the society by co-opting leaders from all state institutions and generating a vast increase in party membership. In the third section, upon analyzing how the substantive fusion of the party and the state affects economic development, it argues that the CPP drives private-sector-oriented development while co-opting talented economic technocrats and dominant business elites into the party or the government. From the above discussions, this study concludes that the CPP’s penetration into the state and the society is a crucial analytical perspective for understanding politics and society in contemporary Cambodia.