The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) leaders outlined their views on the history of struggle and achievements under the CPP-led government over the past 42 years, saying the party will continue to maintain the Kingdom’s independence, peace, freedom, democracy, neutrality and social progress.
They made the remarks on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the party – June 28, 1951.
The CPP was originally known as the Khmer Revolutionary People’s Party, with its origins in the resistance movement that was formed by Cambodian people to fight against the colonialist regime in order to achieve national independence, CPP president and Prime Minister Hun Sen recounted.
In his message marking the occasion, Hun Sen said that for the past 70 years the CPP has led the people in a valiant fight to liberate the country from foreign aggressors.
He noted that the CPP overthrew the genocidal regime of Pol Pot and rescued the nation, ending the darkest period in Cambodian history and starting fresh with the commencement of the nation reconstruction on the path of peace, national unity, democracy and development.
Since the end of 1998 – through his win-win policy, the promotion of democracy, civil liberties and socio-economic development – the people have improved their lives and are living together in harmony, he said.
“The people believe that the CPP is leading the country in the right direction – one that brings peace, stability, prosperity and happiness to the people,” he said.
In response to the power entrusted to them by the people, he said the CPP will continue to do everything in its power to defend national independence and sovereignty, maintain peace, political stability, security and macroeconomic stability, strengthen democracy, promote social harmony and promote economic development to enrich the people’s lives.
“We, the Cambodian people, are determined to turn this spirit into a strong, united action with a single will to continue to build and defend our homeland, leading towards a bright future,” he said.
CPP’s honorary president Heng Samrin said the party has strived, dedicated and actively participated in serving, protecting and developing the country, overcoming hundreds of obstacles along the way.
“We cannot describe all that we have gone through in the last 70 years ... but the CPP stands with the people in all circumstances. That means the CPP is born from the people and is for the people.”
Echoing Hun Sen’s remarks, Samrin said that after the victory over the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979, the CPP led the restoration and rebuilding of the nation from scratch.
He said that together the CPP rebuilt the nation and worked to unite the nation and to end the civil war completely so that the entirety of the Khmer people could live under the same motto: Nation, Religion and King.
Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message on June 28 to the CPP and Hun Sen on the occasion of the 70th anniversary.
In his message, Xi pointed out that for a long time the CPP has been uniting and leading the Cambodian people and advancing the cause of national construction and development, making positive contributions to regional stability and prosperity.
Political analyst Em Sovannara was sceptical. He said the CPP was originally formed by the Indochina Communist Party and was now ruling the country with similar practices to those of China.
“I would give a grade of ‘incomplete’ to the leadership by the CPP. There are still many gaps, such as the lack of criticism from opposition parties. Any criticism is considered by the ruling party to be treasonous, so it no longer exists. And so there is no improvement.
“In a democracy, criticism is valued and heeded so that society can be improved,” he said.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, was of the view that the CPP has built many great achievements for the country after going through many stages in the past 70 years.
He said that from 1979 to the present, the CPP brought about the liberation of the people from the Khmer Rouge regime, brought about national unification, brought complete peace, leading the way for national development in all areas.
He said the CPP has also brought national prestige to Cambodia, which is now playing an increasingly important role on the international stage.
“These are my key points about the CPP’s leading Cambodia over the past 70 years,” Phea said.