This paper examines 10 years of political transition in Cambodia. It is particularly relevant because Cambodia has just passed through a third stage of transition in the form of national grass roots elections to dilute elite power. The scope of the paper covers the three elections in the period 1991–2002 and is located in Dankwart Rustow’s transition theory. I conclude that while basic elements of the theory hold true, qualifications are required in relation to the length of the ‘acceptance’ phase for the elites, and the extent to which, even after 10 years, habitually normalised democratic processes are still unreliable at best, and violent at worst.

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