Prime Minister Hun Sen invoked the supernatural on Wednesday, urging the Kingdom’s constituents to find a new political party rather than wait for the “ghost party” that is long dead.
He said attempts to destroy the election were not going to work, but this was met with a response from a former official of the opposition who said the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) spirit would not die.
Addressing around 17,700 workers from factories in Takeo province, Hun Sen didn’t mention the CNRP by name, though it was clear in his reference when he told the court-dissolved party’s supporters to choose a new one to vote for.
“There are attempts to destroy the election by calling on people to not vote, but it is not going to happen. Our people will exercise their rights . . . one party has died. Will you still be hugging the ghost party or will you exercise your political right and vote for another one that you like?” the prime minister asked.
Hun Sen gave another metaphor, saying that if a husband or wife passed away, the living spouse was likely to find a new partner, even at an old age.
“Cambodia doesn’t have just a few parties. There are over 30 or 40 political parties. However, only about 20 of them registered for the election. Those who keep asking people to remain with their ghost party . . . they might be lucky enough to have people stick with them.”
He then called on local authorities to help “facilitate” all political parties and let them perform their activities without discrimination.
Hun Sen also urged people not to blame him because of mistakes by low-level officials and asked them to vote for his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
“Please do not be angry with the cow and hit the cart. Don’t be angry with a village chief and blame Hun Sen. Please refer to the couple that has five children. It’s hard to manage. Some kids are good. Some are not good. It’s difficult. Compare that with me, I have over half a million officials. Some good and some not so good.”
Ex-CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said the spirit of CNRP supporters will not die, and that he believes they will not follow the prime minister’s advice to choose other political parties.
“I believe people support the CNRP. It’s a spirit and willingness they love. They have made their decision. They hope for change in their country. They hope to gain freedom in promoting the country’s democracy. It’s disappointing without the CNRP’s participation in the election. I believe a large number of people who still support the CNRP will not choose a different party,” Chanrath claimed.
He said he believed the party’s spirit will not die because it subscribes to the true essence of democracy.