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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - U.S. Political Opponents Team Up To Train Khmers

U.S. Political Opponents Team Up To Train Khmers

U.S. Political Opponents Team Up To Train Khmers

While members of the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S.A. often have trouble

working together at home, in Cambodia they have joined forces to provide training

for members of the 20 political parties slated to vie for seats in the Constituent

Assembly this coming May.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute

(NDI), entities established by the U.S. Congress in l983 and aligned with their respective

national parties, have a combined budget of U.S. $1 million for l993 to help Cambodian

political parties gain skills in organizational and campaign tactics.

As an initial program activity, the two institutes scheduled political party strengthening

workshops in eight provinces during the week of February 22-27. Invitations were

sent to all political parties. Seminar organizers expected that 125 to 150 party

members would attend each of the workshops. Curriculum has been designed to introduce

participants to the technical aspects of political party work including campaign

planning, message development, election monitoring and voter education.

Workshop lectures are delivered in English and translated into Khmer. A 10-page political

party worker manual in Khmer is also being distributed to attendees. UNTAC has lent

the workshop organizers translators to assist with the training.

Many of the seminars were to take place in facilities owned by the State of Cambodia,

which have been lent free of charge. "SOC and CPP officials have generally been

very cooperative," Mike Marshall, an NDI staffer noted.

Marshall also said, "This is the most coordinated project by the two institutes

in any country in the world so far." Since l983 the two institutes have conducted

programs in more than 70 countries around the globe including, Burma, the Philippines,

Thailand, Bangladesh and South Korea.

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