After losing more than 400 communes to the opposition in June’s local elections, the Cambodian People’s Party is embarking on a membership drive – among its own members – according to a leaked document, which describes plans to monitor the mentality of supporters of the party.
Titled The Introduction of Measures for Strategic Implementation: One Member, One Vote and labelled “secret”, the three-page missive contrasts the ruling party’s showing in the 2007 commune election, where it received 72.38 percent of the vote, with results from this year, when it captured 65.8 percent.
It notes that the CPP ostensibly has 5,370,313 members – or about 68 percent of the nation’s 7.8 million registered voters – and recommends the party “improve the effectiveness” of managing its members by “strengthening their political tendencies”.
“The party issues the strategy aiming to ensure that one member equals one vote,” it reads.
Measures to be adopted include strengthening the CPP’s structure and gathering information on its members through the creation of the “party family book”.
According to the document, the CPP will create small groups to meet directly with members, with each team being assigned five to 10 houses.
The team will interview each member in the household, collect their information, take a photo and arrange a new membership card, which can now be supplied by local branches to “ease the process”.
This process, it notes, can be done at “many times”, including weekends and at night.
“Target in order to guarantee to meet personally with each party member,” the document reads.
The results will be sent to the party’s central level, and members who are not registered to vote will be “encouraged” to add their names to the list.
After the information is compiled, the document says the party’s “mixed working groups” must continue to communicate with “families of the party” to control and monitor them, and inform superiors if there are “changes of their political feeling or disappointment of family members”.
This, claims the document, is to “find a solution on time”.
Reached yesterday, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan characterised the instructions as a “normal” approach to wooing back members. “The issue of strengthening the party is normal for each party,” Eysan said.
However, political analyst So Chantha said the strategy was just as likely to instil fear as support. “I see this strategy is a strategy that makes the voters . . . fearful, because in the past, members of ruling party were forced to join the party, although some volunteered,” he said. “I think this strategy won’t work, but will bother members and make them vote for other parties.”