Campaigning in Cambodia’s general election is nearing its close as the eight parties contesting the ballot make their final bids for votes ahead of Sunday’s poll. The real contest, though, is between two parties: the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party whose leader Sam Rainsy recently returned from four years of self-imposed exile. The day after his triumphant arrival in Phnom Penh last Friday, opposition leader Sam Rainsy began a whirlwind nationwide tour with party deputy Kem Sokha. Sam Rainsy is the best known and most popular opposition figure, and in a nation that values personality over policy, the opposition CNRP is banking that his presence will translate into gains at the ballot box. Meanwhile, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen has been playing up the animosity that characterized the relationship between Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha in recent years to portray an opposition divided.
Opposition politicians say those days are long gone. Instead, they are focusing on what analysts say are their first attempt to entice voters with new government policies.
Boys hold flags of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) outside a house at a slum area in Phnom Penh July 23, 2013.
Those who have resonated most, said opposition lawmaker Son Chhay, were the ones who promised to improve living standards, boosting the monthly minimum wage for workers from $80 to $150.
Workers in Cambodia – many of whom were young women in the booming garment sector – were typically expected to support parents and siblings back in the provinces, said Son Chhay.
Full Article: Cambodia Election Campaign Draws to Close.