In a speech aimed squarely at his political base, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reminded a crowd of some 500 ruling-party-aligned disabled veterans that his Cambodian People’s Party was the party of peace and economic stability.
Presiding over an annual ceremony honouring veterans, Hun Sen expressed his gratitude for the former soldiers’ sacrifices – sacrifices that he said had contributed to Cambodia’s relative calm and continued economic development.
“I thank all former [soldiers] who always support the CPP in previous elections, and I strongly hope that you will continue to support the CPP for the forthcoming election, and the next term of election . . . [and] continue joining hands in difficult times and prosperous times so that national economic development can be more successful,” said the premier.
Returning to familiar material, the premier reiterated the ruling party’s role in toppling the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, and in bringing its senior leaders to justice, and attributed its success to his audience.
“There is no doubt that peaceful stability that we have today would not have happened without all of you and your sacrifices, which were symbols of nationalism,” he said.
Independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay characterised the prime minister’s remarks as an attempt at drumming up support at the ballot box, and said that while the ruling party may have managed to bring peace to Cambodia, it was still lagging far behind in what he called the “loophole issues” of corruption, public services, foreign debt, environmental degradation and the management of the state’s institutions and justice system.
“Though the ruling party has maintained stability and peace, Cambodian people are still victims when it comes to those loophole issues, and the government has to reconsider all those issues [after the election],” Mong Hay said.