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Four female voters on the issues that matter most to them

Keo Vibol, 36, at a street stall in Kandal province.
Keo Vibol, 36, at a street stall in Kandal province. Heng Chivoan

Four female voters on the issues that matter most to them

This is part of our election blog – read more here.

Keo Vibol, 36, smiled as she comforted her young son. She sat with her mother, Srey Em, 61, at a street-side store in Kampot province lined with little Cambodian People’s Party flags.

Em is married to a local village chief, and both her and Vibol are staunch supporters of the ruling party.

“I have voted for them three times already. This will be the first time for me,” she said. “They build the roads near my house, and when there is a fire, the commune chief calls people to help.

Em added that she is grateful to the CPP for local development.

“I support the CPP because it helped to rescue us from Pol Pot. Now I am happy with everything,” she said. “Any individual can support any party they prefer, but for me, it is CPP only.”

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Svay Chreb, 45, from Meanrith commune. Heng Chivoan

Svay Chreb, 45, is disillusioned with her current Meanrith commune chief, from the CPP. He refused to issue her an ID card for the poor, which she had in the past and would help her have access to healthcare.

A widow with two daughters, she has been riddled by various illnesses – “it’s why I’m so thin” – and can’t always afford medication.

Living on half a hectare of rice paddy fields, she is often too unwell to work and instead sells snails for $1 a kilo to get by.

“The current commune and village chiefs don’t care about us. When I am sick, they don’t drop by,” she said. “Because my daughter is sick, she needs to see the doctor every month. Sometimes we skip it. We could earn $1 per day, but we cannot save it because we need to spend it to eat.”

Chay Hong, 53, who sells duck eggs in Phnom Penh.
Chay Hong, 53, who sells duck eggs in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Chay Hong, 53, was selling duck eggs on the streets of Phnom Penh as a Khmer National United Party rally traveled past.

“I feel very happy and excited to see the rally,” she said.

Originally from Prey Veng, Hong said she wouldn’t be voting for the CPP.

“The current party is just not working,” she said.

Nearby, Prak Srey Neath, 28, stood at a pharmacy, holding an infant in her arms. She is an official at the Ministry of Interior in Russei Keo district, and one key issue for her is rampant bag-snatching.

“I want to see some more changes, like making public services more timely, and I think the capacities of the officials are still limited,” she said.

“If there are better, more competent candidates, it is good because now the local authorities are limited to those who are CPP.”

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