CAMBODIANS voted on Sunday in an election devoid of a serious opposition, which should pave the way for an easy victory for Prime Minister Hun Sen who has been in power since 1985. His is a rule that emerged from the chaos and bloodshed of the Khmer Rouge era.
Here are some key dates in Cambodia’s troubled recent history.
November 9: Cambodia gains independence from colonial power France.
March: King Norodom Sihanouk abdicates to enter politics. His father Norodom Suramarit is named monarch. Sihanouk becomes prime minister several times in the coming years.
April: Sihanouk is declared head of state after the death of his father.
May 3: Cambodia breaks off diplomatic relations with the United States.
March 18: Sihanouk is deposed in a US-backed coup by General Lon Nol, who establishes a republic. Exiled to China, Sihanouk aligns with the hardline Communist Khmer Rouge.
April 17: The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, march into Phnom Penh, beginning a reign of terror that leaves up to two million people dead from starvation, overwork or execution.
January 7: Vietnam takes the capital and installs a new regime, thus marking the end of the genocide. Sihanouk goes into exile in Beijing. Pol Pot flees to the jungle. Khmer Rouge maintains seat in UN supported by Western block despite fleeing to the Cambodian-Thai jungle.
January 14: Hun Sen is appointed prime minister of Cambodia’s Vietnam-installed government, aged just 32.
September 27: Vietnamese troops withdraw from Cambodia.
October 23: The Paris peace agreement is signed, giving the UN authority to supervise a ceasefire and democratic elections.
November 14: Sihanouk makes a triumphant return to Phnom Penh as head of state.
May: UN-sponsored elections are held and the royalist FUNCINPEC party receives 47 percent of the vote.
September: Sihanouk is re-established on the throne.
July 5-6: Military clash breaks out between Second Hun Sen and First Prime Minister Prime Minister Ranariddh with Hun Sen triumphing over the latter.
March 26: The last Khmer Rouge holdout of Anlong Veng near the Thai border falls to Cambodian forces.
April 15: Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot dies.
June 6: The UN and Cambodia agree to an international tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders.
October 14: Norodom Sihamoni becomes king after the surprise abdication of his father Norodom Sihanouk, who dies on October 15, 2012.
February: Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch, receives a life term for his role as head of the Khmer Rouge’s infamous S-21 interrogation centre.
Regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan will eventually also be jailed, two others die before facing justice.
July: Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) leader Sam Rainsy returns from France. Days later, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party led by Hun Sen claims victory in national elections.
September: Clashes erupt as around 20,000 CNRP supporters rally in the Cambodian capital.
January: A police crackdown ends months of opposition rallies.
January: Hun Sen marks three decades as prime minister.
July: The opposition CNRP receives almost 44 percent of the popular vote to CPP’s 51 per cent in local elections.
September: Opposition leader Kem Sokha charged with treason and remanded in jail after he says he has US backing to seize power.
November: The CNRP is dissolved by the Supreme Court.
July 29: Polls open Kingdom-wide with 20 political parties taking part in national elections
July 30: Cambodia People’s Party expected to win landslide victory in national elections.