Original report from Kampong Cham
18 July 2008
Khmer audio aired 18 July 2008 (1.27 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 18 July 2008 (1.27 MB) - Listen (MP3)
Voters asked Kampong Cham delegates Friday about their election strategies for winning, the prevention of "dictatorship" and upgrades of the living standards in Cambodia's most populous province.
The Sam Rainsy, Human Rights, Khmer Democratic, League for Democracy and Hang Dara Democratic Movement parties each addressed concerns from voters and questions from a moderator in a province with 18 National Assembly seats at stake.
Around 1,800 people, including party activists and individual voters, attended the debate, which was held by the National Democratic Institute and will be later televised on TVK. Friday's debate was the last televised debate held by the institute.
"It is very important for me to listen to the political party message, before I decide to vote," said Nov Sophal, a 40-year-old villager who lived nearby in O'Rang Oev district. "So the debate is not only good for me, but for all the voters in the area."
Party candidates promised their would-be constituents strategies for fighting corruption and decreasing the price of goods in the province, as well as agricultural promotion, establishing more jobs and providing free healthcare to villagers.
SRP candidate Mao Monyvann said his party's election strategy relied on campaigning from the grassroots to the national level. The party was campaigning on fighting corruption and inflation and job creation, he said.
Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha told participants that his party's strategy was the promotion of agriculture for farmers and a two-term limit for party president, to fight corruption, partisanship and a "dictatorship" within the party.
NDI senior adviser Thomas Andrews called forums and open debates such as this "an important ingredient to the creation of a strong and vital democracy."
"We can find our real leader through debate, but I keep it in my mind," Buth Saroeun, a 55-year-old villager, said. "Today, I gave up my farm work to join the debate to understand what the parties are saying before the election."