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PM Issues New Year Message, Hoping to Drum Up Support Ahead of Election


The banner reads Happy (Khmer) New Year. The celebration starts April 14 to 16 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 31, 2017. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

The letter touted the government’s achievements in building infrastructure, increasing the minimum wage, and raising per capita income from $1,215 to $1,300 between 2015 and 2016.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday issued an open letter to the Cambodian people wishing them a happy new year and pledging a commitment to maintaining peace and public order ahead of local elections in June.

The letter touted the government’s achievements in building infrastructure, increasing the minimum wage, and raising per capita income from $1,215 to $1,300 between 2015 and 2016. Analysts said the letter was an attempt by Hun Sen to attract support ahead of what is shaping up to be a tense electoral campaign.

“Every achievement that the government has made in the past relies on the rightful political leadership, with participation of the legislative body members, government officials at all levels and all types of armed forces, in fulfilling their duties and with strong support from people across the country,” the letter said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen dances with his wife, Bun Rany, celebrating Khmer New Year at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province, Wednesday April 13, 2016. (Courtesy Photo of Prime Minister's Facebook page)

Prime Minister Hun Sen dances with his wife, Bun Rany, celebrating Khmer New Year at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province, Wednesday April 13, 2016. (Courtesy Photo of Prime Minister's Facebook page)

Sok Eysan, ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman, said the letter was issued to highlight government achievements “to make people feel warm and comfortable under the government’s leadership and continue to vote for [Hun Sen] to be prime minister.”

San Chey, country director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the issues faced by ordinary Cambodians would not be remedied by a letter.

“The current issues have not been solved in a timely manner in response to people’s demands and needs, such as agricultural product prices, transportation or increasingly bus fares and other problems that people are facings such as land disputes,” he said.

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