PHNOM PENH - With just over a month to go before Cambodians head to the polls, a group of young voters say they are going to support the political parties most interested in fighting corruption.
A group of high school and university students met in Phnom Penh recently to call for political candidates to provide more transparency in government and to work harder to end the country’s endemic corruption.
Elections are slated for July 28, with eight political parties vying for support from 9 million registered voters, many of them under the age of 35.
“I want all the competing political parties to declare the national revenue and how they are going to use that budget” if they win, said Ream Chanthy, a university student from Kampong Cham province.
Keom Vanda, a high schooler from Palin, in the northeast, said votes should go to those parties that promise to eradicate corruption. “And if they cannot do that, their leaders must step down.”
Voters like these are going to make up more and more of the electorate.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said their words should be a “wake-up call” for Cambodian politicians. Young voters “want to see how determined the politicians are and whether they can live up to their promises,” he said.
Transparency International Cambodia recently organized a ceremony for parties to pledge to fight against corruption.
Son Chhay, a candidate for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, said at the time the party will work toward that aim. “As the leaders of our party have already said, if we cannot do it, we will step down without being demanded to do so,” he said.
Daran Kravanh, head of the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party, said he too is determined to fight corruption. “If I’m elected prime minister and cannot do it, I will not only step down, but also let you take me to court for breaking my promise,” he said.
Two parties, including the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, declined to participate in the ceremony.