Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP approves party policy manifesto

CNRP approves party policy manifesto

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann speaks at a press conference yesterday evening at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann speaks at a press conference yesterday evening at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

CNRP approves party policy manifesto

The Cambodia National Rescue Party’s 125-member steering committee yesterday approved a draft policy manifesto intended to guide the policies it takes to elections in the next two years, but party officials were tight-lipped about its substance.

The CNRP has come under fire this year from some quarters, including its own officials, for failing to release detailed policies on how to deal with the country’s problems since it won 55 seats at the 2013 election, and it has scrambled to deflect the criticism.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy in August distributed a copy of a 67-page manifesto developed with the help of Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Institute, and CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday’s meeting passed a slightly modified version of the same document.

“We have had detailed discussions with each other, and it took about two years. We started drafting the policies from around 2015, and we organised six workshops,” Sovann said. “At these workshops, we had support and participation from . . . German experts.”

Sovann said the draft focused on seven areas: improving people’s livelihoods, respecting human rights, modernising the state, pursuing development with equality, protecting territorial integrity and improving both national defence and foreign relations.

He did not go into more detail, saying the manifesto was not ready for public distribution.

However, a copy of the draft manifesto distributed by Rainsy in August had listed as its first priority job creation – without going into further specifics – and also said that a CNRP government would introduce a free health-care system for the poor.

The manifesto also said the CNRP would cap interest rates on microfinance loans at 1 percent per month in order to stave off growing debt in the countryside, and also try to distribute money received from international institutions directly to the people.

In any case, the CNRP’s new manifesto will now have to be turned into actual policies by the party as it approaches the June 2017 commune council elections and the 2018 national election.

“This manifesto is defining who we are and what drives us: our identity and values. It will serve as a compass when we write policies on specific issues,” said Kem Monovithya, the CNRP’s deputy public affairs head, who has pushed for more policy in the party.

“CNRP MPs and officials will target specific issues with proposed solutions to give voters ideas on what a CNRP government would look like,” she added, identifying education, health care, agriculture and corruption as the main focal points for future policy.

Koul Panha, head of elections monitor Comfrel, said he was pleased the CNRP was moving forward with developing policies and said it still had a lot of time to develop positions on national issues.

“For the national election, the party’s policies are a key part of the campaign. But for the commune elections, it’s more about the candidates. People look at ‘Who will be my commune chief?’” he said. “Different communes have different problems, so the party at the local levels should have their own commitments and policies to respond to local problems.”

Leaving the meeting, Prince Sisowath Thomico, who had threatened to call a vote during the meeting on whether opposition leader Sam Rainsy should return to Cambodia, said that no such vote had occurred but that he was happy policy was being discussed.

He said that turning the manifesto into a set of clear and intelligible policies would be the next task.

“Now we have to take these 70 pages and turn it into something that is easily understandable by the people, because they don’t care about the small details on things like the Constitutional Council,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The

  • Health ministry issues SOP for travellers

    The Ministry of Health released their official Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on October 20 for all travellers to Cambodia, with the specific instructions varying according to whether the traveller is fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated. The SOP document is essentially identical to the updated quarantine