In the first of a two-part series, Post staff surveyed ten of the 20 parties contesting
the constituent assembly elections. Each party was asked to respond to the following
- Why should people vote for your party?
- What issues form the basis of your political platform?
- Would you consider entering into a coalition government and, if yes, with which
parties would you be willing to work with?
- How many seats are you contesting and how many do you think you will win?
Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP)
Respondent: Ieng Mouly, secretary general
Why people should vote for the BLDP: A vote for BLDP means a vote for national
independence, peace, stability, democracy, human dignity and prosperity.
The BLDP is the inheritor of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front under the
leadership of President Son Sann which had set itself the task of fighting against
the foreign invasion of Cambodia, against the return to power of the auto-genocidal
regime of the Khmer Rouge, and against corruption, and which has met with successes
in its struggle to recover freedom for the Cambodian nation. The BLDP sets itself
the task of protecting the Cambodian people's rights and freedom from any form of
Party platform: The views of the BLDP are rooted in a firm belief that man is the
most advanced of all creatures because man has intelligence and reason, can think,
and is responsible for his own acts towards himself and his nation, as Lord Buddha
observed in one of his teaching which says that man reaps what he has sown.
The Buddhist Liberal Democracy emphasizes the essence of freedom, solidarity, justice
and national values shaped by the teaching of Lord Buddha.
The BLDP believes that there cannot be freedom without justice. Therefore the standard
of living conditions must not be regarded as obstacles to freedom. Freedom cannot
develop without the fairest distribution of the basic necessities of life.
The BLDP believes that equality among citizens is the basis of justice. There shall
be equality of dignity and freedom for all regardless of their station of life. For
justice to prevail all citizens must have the same rights. It is these rights that
oppose dictatorship and abuse of power, and enable the weak to enjoy their freedom.
The BLDP notes that members of the society should adopt a Buddhist attitude towards
themselves, their families, their neighbors, their work, and their country for instance.
The Party does not discriminate against other religions such as Islam and Christianity
etc...The BLDP wishes to make it clear that the freedom of belief shall not be compromised
under its liberalism.
The BLDP adopts a combination of an economic system based on market forces, and a
social system based on freedom and individual responsibility. The basic elements
of this economic system are: Recognition of the achievements of individuals and guarantee
of social justice, Competition and guarantee of solidarity, Recognition of individual
responsibility and guarantee of social security. The economic system advocated by
the BLDP aims to ensure to each person: Individual freedoms, Equality of opportunity
for work, Private property, Prosperity and social progress.
The BLDP adopts a foreign policy of friendship with all countries in the world, based
on peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs
of other states. The party views that all international conflicts should be resolved
peacefully through negotiations, that is, without the use of force of arms. The BLDP
shall not recognize any agreement or treaty affecting the sovereignty, independence,
territorial integrity, neutrality and unity of Cambodia.
On a coalition government: In a proportional system, it is hard for one party to
win an absolute majority. So the idea of a coalition exists. But the coalition must
be based on a platform. Any parties which value the rule of law, the respect of human
rights, liberal democracy, free market economy and the national tradition of Cambodia
can form a coalition with the BLDP.
Election prospects: We are contesting 120 seats. We expect to win at least 38
Neutral Democratic Party of Cambodia (NDPC)
Respondent: Cham Sing, secretary general
Why should people vote for your party? The people of Cambodia want peace right now.
They need freedom and human rights. They want a government like the United States
government...one with three branches. They want the country to develop. Our party
will give Cambodia these things.
Party platform: We want Cambodia to be a free country like the United States. We
want Cambodia to have a neutral foreign policy. We will not enter into any military
alliances with another country. We think that neutrality will protect us from any
threats. We will re-build our military at the same time. Though we will be military
neutral we will coordinate our economy with other countries. The main point is that
we think that a government like the government of the United States is the best government,
that is the government that we want in Cambodia.
On a coalition government: We are willing to enter into a coalition with parties
whose platform is similar to ours, parties from the United States. There are about
six of these parties.
On a government of national reconciliation: That is for the Cambodian people to decide.
The Cambodian people must be asked if the Khmer Rouge should be given part of the
government power. If more than 50 percent of the people say yes, then the Neutral
Democratic Party of Cambodia will support the people's wishes.
Election Prospects: Of course we are contesting all the seats. But we think that
we will win about ten seats.
Molinaka Naktaor-sou Khmer for Freedom Party
Respondent: Prum Neakaareach, president
Why should people vote for Molinaka: When the country was at war we provided the
man power, when the country is in peace we will provide the knowledge.
Party platform: If our party wins the election, we will change the name of the country,
make Sihanoukville a second Hong Kong and extend the national borders by 2,000 square
kilometers but it will not be by invasion. With the U.S. $880 million in aid money
coming to the new government we will develop the country both in the city and rural
areas. Phnom Penh we will extend to the east and enlarge three-fold. Sihanoukville
we will extend by 2,000 square kilometers along the coast as a second Hong Kong.
For the rural areas we will divert the Tonle Sap to arid areas which cannot support
On a future coalition: We received a letter from Prince Sihanouk saying he recognized
the Molinaka Nak Taorsou Khmer for Freedom Party. What I can say is the Prince has
stayed neutral, and he can consider my army his army.
Rassemblement Pour La Solidarite Na-tionale
Respondent: Song Morisa, president
Why should people vote for your party? Song's party is committed to doing what is
necessary to bring peace and security to Cambodia, and to the Cambodian people, especially
for the poor people. This is what the Cambodian people want. How will he do this?
By allying the party with a stronger party, a party capable of winning the election.
We cooperate with the party capable of bringing peace to the country.
Party platform: The party is committed to the people of rural Cambodia. Song sees
himself as their voice in the government. The main goal of the party is to protect
and serve the poor people in the countryside.
The party is Sihanoukist, it is potentially royalist under the condition that Sihanouk
wants to be a king. The party wants a liberal economy, it will encourage foreign
investment, it recognizes that Cambodia cannot achieve this on their own, they need
the world community.
But on the view of the party, economic development is the means (the "primary
factor") to the single over-riding end: protect and serve the rural people of
Cambodia. In light of this end, he says for instance: "All the other parties
promise reliable electricity to the residents of Phnom Penh, I will give it first
to the rural areas."
On a coalition government: Song implies that he has already allied himself with one
of the only two parties which have any chance to win the election. He will not say
which, but implies he already gave me the answer; given that he is a Sihanoukist,
I think it most likely that he is already allied with FUNCINPEC, or that he wants
me to believe that he is. He clearly doesn't see himself in an opposition party,
though he says that he wants pluralism for Cambodia. He says: "In my opinion,
I cooperate actively, frankly, sincerely with one of those parties which after the
election can give Cambodia peace and security."
On a reconciliation government: Sihanouk's idea for a national reconciliation government
is "unrealizable". After the election, the Khmer Rouge will be isolated.
He declined to comment further.
Election prospects: He is searching for a voice in the government, he hangs on the
words of someone who said (he says) that the small parties will have a voice in the
government, even though they do not win any seats. He declines to say whether he
will win any seats.
Republican Coalition Party
Contact: Samien Thong
Why should people vote for your party: The people of Cambodia should vote for this
party because it offers what other parties do not, recognized leadership. Mr. Heng
has served as Head of State, Speaker of Parliament, and Agriculture Minister in Cambodia.
He is characterized, his party says, by honesty and he is not corrupt. In addition
he has national and international stature.
One might say that they think that their strength is name recognition, and strong
leadership, their weakness is that, as they say, many Cambodians think that Mr. Heng
Party platform: Three main issues define the party platform: National Unity, Democracy,
and Social development (with a nationalist flavor).
National Unity: They wish to unify all Cambodians, on the condition that they give
up communism, accept the platform of the party. On this basis all Cambodians are
welcome. Thus the Coalition in their name.
Democracy: they believe that they are bringing true democracy, American style to
Cambodia. It cannot be applied unthinkingly, but most of it is appropriate for Cambodia.
Social Development: Cambodian people have been victims historically. The party wants
to point out that Cambodia has been as hurt by foreign intervention as by internal
difficulties. Their party intends to bring in foreign investment, but under strong
constraints. They believe that the current government is selling Cambodia out to
the highest bidder. Heng says that the number of foreigners in PP makes "him
sick", Vietnamese and Thai. Thus the party's development platform plank is strongly
On a coalition government: Asked directly, the Party says that they are willing to
accept anyone in the Party who "accepts their platform", that is gives
up their communist beliefs, becomes a true democratic nationalist.
They believe that they will win 60 seats. They say that their main strength (though
they are the 20th party to be registered by UNTAC, and they admit to a "late
start") is in the Provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Takeo (home of the President),
Kampot, Battambang, Kompong Speu.
Khmer Farmers Liberal Democracy Party
Respondent: Pon Piseth, president
Why should people vote for your party: Because our party is the only one that protects
the interest of the farmers. It was not my own idea to form this party. About 200,000
people at Site-2 asked me to form a party because they know that their interests
will be protected if this party wins. So, once they vote for our party, it means
they vote for themselves, because they understand that,
- I will protect them
- I will prevent government officials from putting pressure on the farmers,
- I will help to improve the value of farmers.
Party platform: Our policy is based on the respect of freedom and pluralism. We
will increase relations with foreign countries through economic channels and diplomacy,
so as to develop our country like other developing countries. Secondly, we want to
have a government of the farmers, by the farmers and for the farmers.
On a coalition government: I have not yet decided. But I think we can enter into
a coalition with any party that will protect the interests of the farmers. If its
programs are against the ideal of the farmers, I will resist them. I'd like also
to say that I will never form a coalition with FUNCINPEC or with BLDP because I know
them very well.
Election prospects: It is difficult to say because all parties want as many seats
as they can. Our fate depends on the people. Things can change at any second during
the election. Though I have more than 900,000 members, I don't believe that they
all will vote for me, they might vote for somebody else. So, I can not tell you now.
Nationalist Khmer Party
Contact: Khim Phun Vihan
Why should people vote for your party: Because this party was formed by the former
resistance groups and political prisoners who fought against the Vietnamese invaders
since early 1979.
- Are for national reconciliation no matter what other partys' political tendencies
- Work to prevent any kind of dictatorship from returning;
- Will respect human rights, democracy and pluralism;
- Are for free-market economy,
- Will expand the banking system, so poor people can borrow money to do business;
- Will review our borders with all neighboring countries before UNTAC leaves;
- Will protect Cambodian territorial integrity from foreign interference.
On a coalition government: We would like to enter into a coalition government
with any elected party. If we win we will be pleased to invite all contesting parties
into the new government.
Election prospects: We can not say that we will definitely win. But we think that
we will garner 25-30 percent of votes cast in the election.
Free Development Republican Party
Respondent: Sin Luth , vice chairman
Why should people vote for your party: People want to vote for my party because they
want to change the regime, they want to change to a republic.
Secondly, they need leaders who come from the United States.
Thirdly, they know that democracy from the United States is the real democracy, it
is not fake, because the United States is the father of democracy.
And fourthly, they know that our party, the Free Development Republican Party is
for free enterprise, for free development of the country.
We want to end the bloodshed, we want reconciliation here in Cambodia.
Party platform: FDRP is a political and economical party that stresses the value
of every Cambodian who loves peace, freedom and prosperity. Our party puts the creation
of jobs and opportunity first. Our people will have the freedom to grow.and from
that freedom comes prosperity and security.
We advocate equal rights for women and promote strong family values. Our party will
combat crime and drug abuse. We will support the arts, humanities and sciences and
protect the environment.
To enable our government to provide for the myriad of necessities, FDRP upholds the
laws authorizing the collection of taxes from individuals and businesses in a fair
and uniform manner.
Because education is the key to opportunity, we must make Cambodia a nation of learners,
ready to compete in the rapidly changing world today. Our goal is to combine traditional
values and enduring truths with the most modern techniques and technology for teaching
We see tourism as a large foreign exchange earner and see a robust future for agriculture.
On a coalition government: Our main policy is the reconciliaton of Cambodia, to join
together for Cambodia. My party wants to form a coalition with the other parties.
My party is based on the idea of coalition, it is based on conciliation in Cambodia.
I'm not saying FUNCINPEC or CPP. It is our policy and our logo-shaking hands with
the people of Cambodia.
Election prospects: I think that we will get at least one seat in each province,
that is what we have told our supporters.
Respondent: In Tam, president
Why should people vote for your party: The Democrat party is very well known in Cambodia.
Our politics follow those of Prince Sihanouk. And then there's my name. I have a
big reputation and a long history in politics in Cambodia.
Party Platform: There are eight issues which concern us, the motifs of our platform:
1, Ending the conflict; 2, national reconciliation. 3, stopping the bloodshed; 4,
the independence and the sovereignty of the country; 5, territorial integrity; 6,
peace and liberty; 7, democracy, power coming from the people; and, 8, preventing
the partition of the country.
On a coalition government: In general, we are thinking that a united national government
is the best solution. All the parties with representatives in the National Assembly
should participate in the new government. We want to bring all the parties together.
On a coalition government: If everybody is o.k. with the idea, it's all right with
me but I don't think the Phnom Penh regime will accept the idea.
Election Prospects: We have designated candiates for all provinces. We have 230,
that includes reserve candidates. At the moment the climate is not free so it is
difficult to predict how many seats we will win.
Liberal DemocratIC Party
Respondent: Ngy Champal, vice president of administration and planning
Why should people vote for your party: The LDP is a political party of the Khmer
People, by the Khmer People and for the Khmer People. More than a political party,
the LDP is a national movement for peace, freedom, democracy and independence in
- The development of national and international policies and programs which promote
a stable peace and national reconciliation.
- To protect and maintain national independence, territorial integrity, security,
sovereignty and unity of Cambodia.
- To establish a just and free democratic society.
- Build a capacity for national reconstruction, economic development, social and
- To provide quality education and learning opportunities.
- We believe in true democracy, openness, responsiveness, accountability, efficiency
On a coalition government: We do not see any political party having a majority.
And yes, we will enter a coalition. Anything to develop and to form a government
to create a durable peace and stability. Peace alone is not enough, we need stability
and from stability, rural and urban reform. We will join with any political party
as long as they are an asset to stability. But if we talk with other parties, it
is not a betrayal. We are independent. We have our integrity and our vision.
Election Prospects: We are entering 120 candidates and we have 64 more as alternatives.
We know but we do not want to comment. But naturally, we want to win as many as possible.
Whatever resources we have, we will use as effectively as possible to conduct our
campaign to get a successful and satisfactory result.