Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday credited liberating Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge as among the reasons why people will vote for his ruling Cambodian People Party (CPP) in the July 29 national elections.
Hun Sen, who has held the reins of power in Cambodia for more than 33 years, wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday that the CPP “has the greatest support from people inside and outside the country”.
The CPP “liberated the nation from genocide, which is truly rescuing the nation”, he said, praising his party’s loyalty to the people, standing with them regardless of what befell the nation.
He said his party had maintained long-term peace, which provides happiness to people throughout the nation while providing opportunities to youth and workers.
Hun Sen said the CPP had “transformed Cambodia from the killing fields into the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’”, a country that equals any other and is among the most economically attractive places to do business in the region.
He also said that the CPP is the “only party that has an abundance of human resources who have the full ability and capacity to develop the country further”.
Kong Monika, president of the Khmer Will Party (KWP), which was created by former members of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, said Hun Sen’s remarks were “just the same old reasons”.
“The KWP believes that Hun Sen’s remarks are just the same old reasons to seek the support of voters, without giving consideration to the 70 percent of Cambodians in need. "
“The youth need proper employment and a decent income to improve living standards. They want access to good education and healthcare – and more importantly, the Cambodian people want inner peace,” he said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Hun Sen’s points were “nothing new – deja vu”.
“Cambodian society and its people have changed tremendously over a generation and have new aspirations, which the mentality and institutions of a generation ago cannot help the CPP meet and satisfy,” he said.
Funcinpec countered by saying it also had many accomplishments that contributed the country’s development. Its achievements, however, were not widely known as the party did not own TV or radio stations to broadcast them.
Funcinpec’s vice president and spokesperson Nhep Bun Chin said his party had achieved much in the past – from starting the process that led to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, to agreeing to share power after winning the 1993 elections.
He said such accomplishments contributed greatly to Cambodia’s stability and development.
Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president Pich Sros said he believed Hun Sen’s statement was “accurate”, but that those achievements were not enough.
“[Hun Sen’s] party helped liberate the nation from Pol Pot’s regime. That cannot be denied, but I want to point out that there were many others involved."
“Cambodians now demand more than what we have at present. We demand the transformation of the country into a civil nation, where people are financially secure and the youth don’t face employment problems,” he said.