Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen receives hometown support



Hun Sen receives hometown support

Hun Sen receives hometown support

PEAM KRAUV, Kampong Cham - Here, in the birthplace of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen,

all was quiet on voting day. A bit too quiet for the village Polling Station Commission

(PSC) staff, it seemed.

A PSC member stepped out of empty station 1486 at 1:30pm. He brought a handwritten

list of names to a bespectacled man - with no NEC identification - sitting in the

shade with the rest of the polling staff.

"There are some people who didn't come to vote," the PSC worker said deferentially,

indicating the list.

"This one I know, this one I don't know," the man with glasses said, pointing

at the names. Scowling at one, he asked irritably: "His wife already voted.

What about the husband?"

A bystander scurried off.

Asked who the man was, the PSC member replied: "He is Kao Vong, the village

chief - oh, no, I mean, he is the head of security for the village."

Soon afterwards, the oversize demonstration ballot posted at the doorway to the PSC

began to flap in the wind, calling attention to a brown mark on the lower right-hand

side. Number 35 - Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) - had been marked on all

three demonstration posters at the station.

"Oh, the young monks did that," said PSC chief Saing Keang, gesturing to

the nearby pagoda. "We put these up two days ago - what can we do?"

Told of the incidents, National Election Committee member Tip Jahnvibol said election

regulations had been violated: the posters should have been removed, and the names

of non-voters should never have been publicized.

"It's intimidation; people should not be pressured," he said. "It's

a process that violates the spirit of free and fair elections."

Yet in this leafy riverside village of 642 registered voters, residents said they

made up their minds independently - though many admitted to favoring the party of

the hometown boy.

"Everybody here likes the CPP, but we are not sure - it is a secret vote, so

maybe some people have a different idea," said farmer Neng, who gave her age

as "about 43".

Villagers said that Funcinpec, the Sam Rainsy Party and the CPP had all braved the

bumpy, difficult track leading from the provincial capital, 55km to the southwest.

"Samdech Hun Sen did not come," said 67-year-old So Din, a farmer. "I

did not recognize them, but some [CPP] members came. They gave MSG, clothes and sarongs."

Hun Sen competed in the 1993 elections in his home province, but this time around

stood in Kandal.

"I voted for Samdech Hun Sen," said So Din, reaching for a thick cigarette

with his blackened finger. "I don't know the background [of the other parties]

or who they are. Samdech Hun Sen lived here since he was a child, so I had to vote

for him - last time too."

The elderly farmer, who has lived in the village all his life, not only remembered

Hun Sen as a boy - "his family was very, very poor... I'm not so sure if he

liked going to school or not" - but also voting in "three or four"

elections.

"It's all the same, I still go to vote," he said.

He said he took pride in the local boy made good: "It's a community. If we have

a person who is educated and becomes the Prime Minister, we are very proud."

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year