CNRP president Kem Sokha embarked on a two-week tour of Australia and New Zealand yesterday in an effort to rally financial and moral support among the Cambodian diaspora.
According to CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, Sokha’s tour will involve participation in a traditional Khmer New Year ceremony and rallies where he will meet supporters. Worldwide, the CNRP intends to raise $1 million before June’s commune elections, Sovann said. At present, he said the CNRP has received $20,000 of that target to its Cambodian coffers.
“Without fundraising abroad, the CNRP would face massive organisational deficits,” said Markus Karbaum, a political scientist specialising in Cambodia. “However, compared to the financial capacities of the ruling party, even $1,000,000 appears as a drop in the bucket.”
Teav Vannol, a senator for the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and coordinator for the CNRP, said that most CNRP supporters overseas have already determined how much they intend to donate to the party for the commune elections. On Monday, Vannol returned from a month-long visit to the United States, where he took part in CNRP fundraising meetings.
“We sent a budget to give them time to see what we need,” he said, adding the party had raised around $80,000 in the US, though not all of it had made it to Cambodia yet.
Mardi Seng, who worked as an SRP treasurer in Boston between 1998 and 2007, said he remained optimistic about the CNRP’s fundraising abroad.
“It’s much easier,” he said, pointing to the unification of the opposition and the use of social media.