PHNOM PENH —
A coalition of six youth organizations on Wednesday delivered petitions to the ruling and opposition parties, calling for an increase in the number of young representatives to run in the 2018 municipal and provincial elections.
“This is imperative because youths are the dynamic force behind change, development and transparency at sub-national levels,” Yorng Kim Eng, executive director of People Center for Development and Peace, told VOA Khmer.
Only about 5 percent of local elected officials are below the age of 30, according to statistics from the Khmer Institute for National Development. The youth coalition, which delivered more then 27,000 names on its petition, says it wants to see that number increased to 20 percent.
The low numbers have some youth feeling disenfranchised.
“Some political parties do not empower the youths but instead just exploit us for political benefit,” Ngoun Treng, a university student, told VOA Khmer. “I insist that the political parties include youths in their hierarchy so that we are eligible to stand as representatives.”
Officials from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party said Wednesday they will take the petition to party leadership.