The Party of Democratic Kampuchea was formed by rebel Khmer Rouge leaders as a continuation of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.
Formation of the Party of Democratic Kampuchea
The party was formed in December 1981 upon the dissolution of the CPK (Communist Party of Kampuchea). Its formation was promted by the need to distance itself from the excesses of the Democratic Kampuchean regime and to appeal to a broader nationalist front in the war against the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea (who had overthrown them).
The party and its leadership were to retain the United Nations seat for Cambodia until 1982.
Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea
In 1982 the Party of Democratic Kampuchea and its armed wing the National Army of Kampuchea were to join the Coalition Government of Kampuchea. This was officially a broad unite front, including royalists and right-wing republicans, but in actual fact was dominated and ran from the outset by the Khmer Rouge.
To read more about the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea click here.
Leadership of the Party of Democratic Kampuchea
The party was led at the outset by Pol Pot, but in 1985 he was replaced by the more “public friendly” Khieu Samphan. Son Sann (who was later to be killed by Pol Pot) was the Khmer Rouge Prime-Minister of the Coalition government.
1981 – 1985 – Pol Pot
1981 – 1992 – Khieu Samphan
Ideology of the Party of Democratic Kampuchea
Until 1985 the party still espoused the extreme leftist views of Pol Pot, but in 1985 it officially dropped all references to Marxism-Leninism and instead pronounced it stood for Democratic Socialism. This was seen by many as window dressing as ideological purges and killing fields were to continue until the very end of the Khmer Rouge.
Prior to the 1993 elections the party was largely superseded by the Cambodian National Unity Party which at the time stated it would take part in UN sponsored elections.
The Khmer Rouge eventually refused to take part of the elections and withdrew to areas it controlled under the name of the Provisional Government of National Union and National Salvation of Cambodia, led in theory at least by the Cambodian National Unity Party.
Following a number of defections and splinter parties both the successor state and the party were eventually disbanded in 1998.
To read more about Cambodian National Unity Party click here.
To read more about the last Khmer Rouge State click here.