There is not much party program and not even ideology involved in the current election campaign in Cambodia. Typically, the campaigns try to promote their party leaders. In the case of the three big parties this is Prime Minister Hun Sen (CPP), Sam Rainsy (Sam Rainsy Party), and Prince Norodom Ranariddh (Funcinpec).
Once more I found the Cambodia Daily to be a reliable newspaper. They had contacted all parties and requested their profiles. Thy print the replies of about 20 parties, among them the three big parties.
I though it would be worth to provide those valuable pieces of party program here. Much could be said about those platforms and the high expectations they raise among the supporters of those parties. I think I may refer to it later. With regard to multiculturalism it is worth mentioning that both major opposition parties (Sam Rainsy and Funcinpec) play the nationalist card. “Illegal immigration” by Vietnamese people and issues of territorial integrity (with reference to both Vietnam and, to a lesser extend, Thailand) are high on the campaign agendas. Those platforms also reflect the different pressures which last on parties according to whether or not they participate in the current government (CPP and Funcinpec). Interestingly, the ruling party CPP’s platform is the only who mentions ‘hill tribe peoples’. However, the formulation ‘take care of the hill tribe peoples’ sounds rather paternalistic to me.
The following is quoted from the CAMBODIA DAILY, Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27, 2003-07-27
“CAMBODIAN PEOPLE’S PARTY
Implement the national policy of unity and reconciliation, strengthening peace and social stability, and seek justice for the people who suffered under the genocidal regime. Strengthen and promote democracy, the multi party liberal system, promoting free and fair elections, protecting the rights of liberty and freedom for the people according to the UN declaration on human rights. Respect Buddhism as the state religion and respect the rights of other religions, strengthening freedoms of the media and the rights of unions and vocational organizations. Strengthen the rule of law and law enforcement. Strengthen the commune councils and improve quality of public service at local level. Build up national defense by using Royal Cambodian Armed Forces as the core. Implement the free market economic policies. Ensure economic growth, encouraging internal and external investment. Increase employment rate. Increase salaries for civil servants, armed forces and workers according to growth of national economy. Foster private development and create new jobs. Develop agricultural sector and increase agricultural exports. Take care of the hill tribe peoples and increase services to vulnerable groups. Increase rights of women, the disabled and children. Combat trafficking of drugs and humans and stop domestic violence. Develop tourism to its potential. Continue to build pagodas, schools, health centers, roads, bridges, irrigation systems, electricity and water supply for the people. Develop peace and friendship with all countries based on principles of equality and respect for independence and territorial integrity. Improve cooperation with donor community and international institutions.
SAM RAINSY PARTY
The Cambodians will enjoy a dignified living standard under a Sam Rainsy government that will immediately apply, and adhere to, the rule of law. The rule of law helps eliminate corruption that has artificially kept market prices high. For instance, without corruption, the price of petrol at the pump can be decreased to about 1.500 riel per liter, and prices of other utilities and products that use petrol directly and indirectly as production input will inevitably drop. The rule of law will also deliver justice in court for the people. Bribing judges to win a case is no longer a safe option for the rich. The people will also benefit from social justice. The party will tax the rich to pay for higher salaries for all teachers and public servants. The less-corrupt industries will deliver higher wages for factory workers. The retired, the handicapped and the poor will receive social security benefits that are funded by the tax revenues of the rich. Another major concern of the Cambodian people, the issue of territorial integrity, will be diligently addressed with peaceful and legal means. The national immigration law will be properly implemented for foreigners. Above all, the Sam Rainsy government would have a leadership team capable of, and fully committed to, making its policies work.
Ensure the sustainability of modern monarchy. Follow democracy and human rights properly. Strengthen peace and political stability under a framework of national reconciliation. Eliminate violence, robbery and crime by punishing criminals. Ensure a clean court system, neutrality and justice, and educate all levels of civil servants to understand their duties to serve people and avoid abusing power. Review any contracts contrary to the national interest such as border treaty upon Article 90 of the Constitution,, when Funcinpec has the majority in the National Assembly. Build the strategic roads along the borders and local development – pagodas, schools, hospitals and water supply. Follow the immigration law against illegal immigrants by cremating the new Ministry of Immigration. Strengthen the local administration in the framework of decentralization. Reform the public administration and structure of the Royal Cambodia Armed forces to be effective with good governance and transparency through the programs of capacity-building of civil servants, police and national forces to serve the nation neutrally and not under any political party’s influence. To strengthen the democratic regime and implementation of good governance and transparency, the party will hold a monthly public forum that requires members of Parliament and government members to tackle the people’s issues such as land abuse from powerful men and dishonest businessmen. Prepare questionnaires and debate between MPs and government members every fortnight. Parliament yearly assesses the achievements and government’s affairs before the national budget plan is adopted. Amend the Constitution to limit the prime minister’s term to no more than two mandates.”