[Editor's note: In the weeks leading into national
polls, VOA Khmer will explore a wide number of election issues. The
"Election Issues 2008" series will air stories on Tuesday and
Wednesday, followed by a related "Hello VOA" guest on Thursday. This
is the first in a two-part series examining Cambodia's voters.]
For nearly a month, potential voters have been listening to
the messages of political parties campaigning for 123 National
Assembly seats. Their votes will be cast on Sunday, but many voters worry that
by Monday, promises made will fade away.
In the course of the campaign, 11 parties made
sweeping promises before voters, vowing to fight corruption, eliminate
land-grabbing, curb inflation, reform the judiciary and protect the
And while many of the countries 8 million voters likely
heard these messages, they might not have been as convinced as parties hoped.
"I like all party platforms for the purpose of pushing
Cambodian society to the rule of law, development and prosperity," Hav
Cheng Sim, a 22-year-old civil engineering student said recently. "But I
have little belief in those political promises."
Political observers say attitudes like these should be a
reminder to political parties to remember promises they've made on the campaign
"The voter's concern is a very important thing to
remind the politicians and candidates, who made promises before the people,
that they must respect their promises after winning the election," Ly
Sothearayuth, a senior program officer for the National Democratic Institute,
Long Saroeun, 26, sitting with her infant on her lap outside
a small wooden house in Phnom Penh,
said recently she was skeptical of all political parties.
"The political promise is just a political trick and
strategy by all parties to lobby voters," she said. "Politicians
always break their promises, after winning.”
Views in the city and the countryside were similar among
"My family makes a very poor living, but no politician
or party has come to help get my family and me out of poverty, so I do not believe
in the promises by politicians or parties," Meach Phalla, a 45-year-old woman
living in Kmapong Cham town, said. "But I believe in myself to make a
small business for supporting my family."