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

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the