WASHINGTON DC - With national elections just four months away, the head of the royalist Funcinpec party says her party is pushing for more women leaders and participants in the political process.
Princess Norodom Arunrasmey, who is the daughter of late king Norodom Sihanouk, told VOA Khmer that women can lead as well as men, “if they have the will.”
Cambodian politics are dominated by men over the age of 35, and democracy advocates say they system needs more youthful candidates and more women.
Norodom Arunrasmey, who was named party president in March, said Funcinpec is focusing on women’s issues for the upcoming election, to be held July 28.
Cambodian women today have more skills and fewer barriers than they did 20 or 30 years ago, the princess said. And Funcinpec has a track record on women’s rights, having created the Ministry of Women’s Affairs after its 1993 election victory.
Funcinpec has now folded in members of the defunct party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh to contest the July elections. Norodom Arunrasmey said she accepted the position as head of the party to help it regain seats in the National Assembly.
The party is now opening opportunities for women to be parliamentary candidates in the election, in a group led by a young, female activist, the princess said.
“To promote women should not just be the policy of the political parties at all, but it should be a permanent and broad political agenda for the nation,” she said. “If we want to develop the nation, we have to develop the human resources, the most important of which are women’s resources.”