Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to foreign and local businesses to support him in the upcoming election period, as his ruling party faces ongoing criticism for inflation.
His appeal, during a forum between the government and the private sector in Phnom Penh, comes as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party is experiencing pressure from economic forces, such as inflation, the high cost of food and a recent rice crisis.
“I would like to inform you all that whatever Hun Sen does for winning, it’s not only winning for Hun Sen and the CPP, but the whole nation wins,” the prime minister said.
“I would like clearly to inform you all that I have made everything for the Cambodian nation, but I also need the election won,” Hun Sen added. “If the private sector wants me to participate in continually leading you all, you all support me, because if you all let me lose, you also lose.”
Political observers say that many of the high-profile businesses in Cambodia run mutli-million-dollar enterprises with the support of the ruling party.
“If people vote for me, there is no war, and you don’t have to run into the trenches,” Hun Sen also said.
Human Rights Party Vice President Keo Remy said Hun Sen’s speech was a sign of pressure on the businessmen.
“If HRP wins the election, there is no war and fear for people, because HRP doesn’t take anyone as an enemy and doesn’t take revenge against anyone,” he said.
Cambodia was unlikely to experience war no matter who wins the election, he said.
Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Yim Sovann said Hun Sen and the ruling party had failed to progress the economy and were now turning to businesses for help.
Ly Sothea Rayuth, a program officer for the National Democratic Institute, said Hun Sen’s speech in a public venue “threatened the spirit of voters.”