The CPP celebrated its 54th anniversary for less than an hour Tuesday morning with flowers, pigeons, balloons and a speech by party President Chea Sim.
Some observers said the yearly bash was shorter, less festive and less well-attended than in years past, but government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said all went according to plan.
“One hour at most,” he said of anniversary parties. “Because it gets hot.”
He declined to provide an estimate of how many people attended or how attendance compared to past anniversaries.
In his speech, Chea Sim praised the CPP for developing Cambodia and ending the civil war. He also said the party supported a Khmer Rouge tribunal.
And despite Hun Sen’s recent criticism of retired King Norodom Sihanouk, Chea Sim praised the work of the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs, which the retired King chairs.
He did, however, attack unnamed critics for “turning a blind eye” to development achieved under the auspices of the CPP and for “talking badly about their own motherland.”
The CPP traces its roots to the foundation—largely orchestrated by Vietnamese communists—on June 28, 1951, of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party, which Chea Sim said in his speech joined hands with other revolutionary groups to fight colonialism.
Following independence from France, the growing popularity of then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangkum movement and violent anti-communist crackdowns, the KPRP lost nearly 90 percent of its members, according to the Historical Dictionary of Cambodia.
In a secret congress in September 1960, the KPRP reorganized itself as the Marxist-Leninist Workers’ Party of Kampuchea.
In 1966, the name was again changed to the Communist Party of Kampuchea, following a visit by Pol Pot and Ieng Sary to China.
Vietnamese-supported defectors from the CPK formed the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea in 1981, and Hun Sen early on became one of the party’s leaders.
In 1991, the party anointed itself the CPP, officially abandoning Marxist-Leninism and revolutionary rhetoric as part of the 1991 Paris peace agreement.