For hundreds of years, the system of government of Cambodia was influenced by the Buddhist religion and the traditions and rituals of Khmer.
This shows that the religion and the culture of a country heavily influences the type of government system that it will have. The system of government of Cambodia only changed in 1863, when the French colonized the country. The French introduced the Civil Law System which governed the day-to-day life of Cambodians.
In 1953, the country gained independence from France, and its system of government went again through transformation. The new installed leader named Pol Pot decided to remake Cambodia. In his rule, Cambodia has been renamed Kampuchea, and all the institutions and the laws existing under the previous regimes were abolished. The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) exercised absolute power, and a dictatorial government system has been implemented. Pol Pot believed that tribes were untainted with evil because they live a simple and humble life. For this reason, Pol Pot transformed the country to a communist-agricultural utopia, in which the practice of religion became illegal, the country’s currency was abolished, private property was outlawed, and hundred of thousands of the citizens in urban community were resettled in agricultural communes.
This was in year 1975 and Kampuchea was isolated from the international community. In farm communes, workers suffered immensely and died from hunger, overworked, and abuse that they get from the officials. The dictatorial regime also executed hundreds of people who were deemed as enemies of the newly established government. Many of them, however, are only seen as intellectuals who they felt like had the capability to overthrow the regime. In history, this event was called the Cambodian Genocide. In 1979, Cambodia was invaded by the army of Vietnam.
Pol Pot was removed from power, and the Cambodians had to build their government system from the start since nearly all intellectuals had been killed during the Cambodian Genocide. Following the Vietnamese invasion, Cambodia was ruled by a Hanoi-backed regime, and for obvious reasons, the newly established system of government was patterned to the Vietnamese model. Cambodia has gradually reestablished ties with the other countries, but in 1980s, a civil war broke out between the Hanoi-backed regime and the Khmer Rouge. The conflict only ended when the army of Vietnam left Cambodia, and the Paris Peace Accord was signed in 1991. The peace accord was the first time in history that the administration of an independent member country was taken over by the United Nations, specifically the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), which is created to rebuild and stabilize the country which was ruined by decades of war. Just two years of supervisory control of United Nations led to the promulgation of a new Constitution in 1993. The concepts of political pluralism, human rights and the rule of law were introduced in Cambodia.
There was also a surge more vocal and diverse media, as well as civil society activities.