While members of the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S.A. often have trouble
working together at home, in Cambodia they have joined forces to provide training
for members of the 20 political parties slated to vie for seats in the Constituent
Assembly this coming May.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute
(NDI), entities established by the U.S. Congress in l983 and aligned with their respective
national parties, have a combined budget of U.S. $1 million for l993 to help Cambodian
political parties gain skills in organizational and campaign tactics.
As an initial program activity, the two institutes scheduled political party strengthening
workshops in eight provinces during the week of February 22-27. Invitations were
sent to all political parties. Seminar organizers expected that 125 to 150 party
members would attend each of the workshops. Curriculum has been designed to introduce
participants to the technical aspects of political party work including campaign
planning, message development, election monitoring and voter education.
Workshop lectures are delivered in English and translated into Khmer. A 10-page political
party worker manual in Khmer is also being distributed to attendees. UNTAC has lent
the workshop organizers translators to assist with the training.
Many of the seminars were to take place in facilities owned by the State of Cambodia,
which have been lent free of charge. "SOC and CPP officials have generally been
very cooperative," Mike Marshall, an NDI staffer noted.
Marshall also said, "This is the most coordinated project by the two institutes
in any country in the world so far." Since l983 the two institutes have conducted
programs in more than 70 countries around the globe including, Burma, the Philippines,
Thailand, Bangladesh and South Korea.