Prime Minister Hun Sen boasted Wednesday of creating more than 400 kilometers of roads and many new bridges in the last two weeks alone, in a move observers say is a kind of campaigning ahead of the election.
Campaigning is officially set to begin June 26 and will run through July 25, two days before the polls open for general elections. But observers say remarks by Hun Sen broadcast on local media are aimed at pulling in voters sooner.
Hun Sen had “inaugurated some new national roads and bridges of more than 400 kilometers, during the last two weeks,” the prime minister told a crowd gathered for the opening of 152 kilometers of road and four bridges in Koh Kong province. “This is a marvel in the 21st Century, in what the Cambodia government and the people are cooperating with development partners to make for our Cambodians.”
“The people have asked him to continue,” Hun Sen said of himself. “After the election, I will take the prime minister post.”
Hun Sen’s public appearances were part of a “very important election campaign,” said Human Rights Party Vice President Keo Remy. They also amounted to “demagoguery to capture ballots from the voters.”
Opposition Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Eng Chhay Ieng called the statements “propaganda.”
“He is proud of the right things,” Eng Chhay Ieng said. “But he must tell the public how much the government has in foreign debt.”
Yong Kim Eng, director of the People’s Center for Development and Peace, said Hun Sen’s speeches were an “election strategy” to show the public the achievements of the government.