“The days when the Government could entirely control the flow of information are gone. Public opinion has arrived in Cambodia’s politics, and it is a game changer”
A former garment worker has launched a new political party --the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP)-- focused on alleviating the problems of Cambodia’s youth. Pich Sros, 36, maintains that a government led by the CYP would first address “Cambodian youths’ standard of living”. The new party is the seventh to be launched in 2015, and it would focus on five fundamental points: 1) improving education and health; 2) promoting youth employment; 3) setting a price ceiling for agricultural goods sold domestically; 4) providing temporary welfare for those out of work; and 5) raising the standard of living for the country’s poor. For poor youth that continue studying at University, a CYP led government will provide loans without interest. According to Mr. Sros, the CYP relies on donations from party members. He claims more than 3,000 people support the new party. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said it welcomes all new political parties, “because the ruling party implements democracy”. Likewise, the opposition CNRP (Cambodia National Rescue Party) of Sam Rainsy, said they were not concerned --even if the new party targets one of the opposition’s main blocs of support--. The CNRP’s spokesman, Mr. Soksan, said that for the CYP to have options it would need to join forces with more established parties. “I would like to (...) appeal to the leaders of the new party to join with the CNRP because only CNRP can win the general election”, he said. Ou Virak (Future Forum think tank), said the CNRP would be mistaken to take the youth vote for granted. “I think [the CNRP] were basically getting the support from the youth with very little effort, with hardly any policies, so now they are actually going to have to deal with youth unemployment or many of the youth issues”, Mr. Virak said. “They basically just benefit from the fact that youth are frustrated with Hun Sen and the CPP, they want change,” he added. “Their platform [of the new party] is a lot more interesting in affecting the youth than the CNRP’s”.