Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Campaign looks beyond poll

Campaign looks beyond poll

Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters rally through the streets of Phnom Penh on Sunday
Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters rally through the streets of Phnom Penh on Sunday. Pha Lina

Campaign looks beyond poll


Since the sub-national councillor election campaign kicked off on May 2, leaders of the Cambodia National Rescue Party have embarked on a whirlwind tour of the Kingdom, drawing large crowds that will come nowhere near a polling booth this Sunday.

According to observers though, that’s beside the point.

The election is non-universal and the more than 11,000 sitting commune councillors that are eligible to vote for provincial, district and municipal councils are expected to do so along party lines.

However, Koul Panha, director of elections watchdog Comfrel, said that the opposition was looking well beyond Sunday’s election with its feverish campaign.

“Beyond that, it’s more [about] countering the [Cambodian People’s Party] government and the CPP parliament. It’s more of a CNRP political statement regarding the CPP, and they [are trying] to warm up their supporters to be more aware about the current situation,” he said.

The opposition also hopes that its throngs of supporters – the party has called on 20,000 to take part in a planned final campaign march through Phnom Penh on Friday – might help lure ruling party commune councillors to their side.

According to Ou Chanrith, a lawmaker-elect in Kandal province, the CNRP wants to show the country that after more than half a year of political deadlock, the opposition still has serious “momentum”.

“[This] election, we know who is going to vote for who, but at least [with the campaign] . . . the CPP councillors might consider voting for us, because we show that there is so much support for the CNRP.

“[The councillors] might see that soon the CNRP will run the country, so they might decide they don’t want to stay with the CPP anymore. They lose hope.”

At the last election in 2009, the ruling CPP kicked off its election campaign with a thousands-strong march through the capital.

This time, however, they have been near absent from the public eye, and have reportedly focused instead on targeting their nearly 8,300 councillors directly.

“In 2009, the CPP conducted a large campaign. But this time, because the CPP government has tried to ban freedom of assembly . . . they just follow government policy,” Panha, of Comfrel, said.

But the CPP is “very, very concerned” about councillors crossing party lines, he added.

“In April, the CPP tried to pay money to [their] councillors. That’s the first time that ever happened before. Before, they paid to other [parties’] commune councillors [to get them to switch],” he said.

“This didn’t happen during the election campaign, because [then it would be considered] like vote buying [under the election law]. [So] they paid during Khmer New year.”

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap yesterday did not deny that his party had made financial contributions to commune councillors during the holiday period ahead of the campaign.

“It is normal of the CPP, which always contributes some money to some of our members. It is the right of the CPP and there is no problem,” he said, adding that his party had no fear its councillors would vote for the opposition on Sunday.



  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Kingdom’s exports to US mushroom 25.94% in first five months to $2.4B

    Though Cambodia’s exports to other countries have been stalled amid the evolving Covid-19 environment, the Kingdom’s shipments to the US were worth 25.94 per cent more in the first five months of this year than they were in the year-ago period. Bilateral trade between

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was