In celebration of the 64th anniversary of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, Prime Minister and newly elected party head Hun Sen employed a mixture of tried-and-true party talking points and more recent political promises, commending the CPP’s leadership while lauding the country’s new-found “culture of dialogue”.
At least 10,000 members of the CPP, along with dozens of foreign diplomats, were in attendance for Hun Sen’s speech at the party’s main headquarters yesterday.
The occasion marked Hun Sen’s first public address since he replaced former Senate president Chea Sim as party president.
“It is a very auspicious day that we gather to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the founding of the CPP, which is well-known for its history of leading the people’s struggle against foreign invasions for national independence, as a political force that led the overthrow of Pol Pot’s genocidal regime . . . while leading the nation’s restoration, defence and development progress until now,” he said.
He said that, through the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, the CPP helped end the Cambodian civil war.
Nowadays, Hun Sen said that the party is determined to maintain and promote the country’s achievements while continuing to strive for increased international activities.
“We have transformed ourselves from a country that received help from the blue berets of the United Nations, to one that sends its blue-beret soldiers to peacekeeping operations,” he said.
On the domestic front, Hun Sen said he would tackle corruption and structural reforms.
He hailed the political deal reached on July 22 last year between the CPP and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was responsible for the creation of the new laws that outline the organisation and function of the National Election Commission.
“We will continue to enhance the culture of dialogue with all political parties . . . with the aim of ensuring national solidarity,” he said.
Moreover, Hun Sen said the CPP will continue to reach for 7-plus per cent economic growth while increasing the minimum wages for civil servants and members of the armed forces, long a key pillar of the CNRP’s platform that was, in part, recently taken up by the government.
Opposition spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that in spite of recent political change, many issues remain unsolved.
“The CNRP understands that sensitive issues, such as border encroachment, illegal immigration and human rights violations, particularly in the land sector, still loom large,” he said.
Independent political commentator Ou Virak echoed this sentiment, saying that these issues may ultimately prove to be the party’s undoing.
“The CPP won many seats in the 2008 elections, but [they] were down in 2013,” he said, referring to the opposition’s unprecedented surge that saw them win 55 seats to the CPP’s 68.
“Land grabbing, injustices, corruption and the Vietnamese [border] issues are an infected wound for the CPP.”