A prominent lineup of CPP figures has been selected for a new “propaganda and education committee” inside the ruling party, with senior government minister Men Sam An leading the 25-person group tasked with turning around lagging popularity.
The committee’s duties will be “collecting information relating to the political mood inside the party, among the masses, and from other sources” and constructing campaigns for the CPP, according to a party decision obtained Thursday.
Headed by Ms. Sam An, minister for National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspections, the body also includes Anti-Corruption Unit chairman Om Yentieng, Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron, National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Hun Many, a lawmaker and youth group leader.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the committee was created late last month in order to help the ruling party perform strongly in the 2017 commune elections and 2018 national election after the emergence of the CNRP as a serious opposition party in the 2013 election.
“We are facing the 2017 and 2018 elections with key requests [from the public], so in order to seize victory in the elections, the party therefore created the committee to deeply study the political situation, including evaluating the situation to make propaganda for the people more effective,” he said.
“It will raise up the in-depth reforms of the government…to increase popularity,” Mr. Eysan added. “It will observe the ideas of the party’s supporters in order to prevent them swinging toward the propaganda of the opposition or other competitor parties, and to make them…believe more strongly in CPP rule.”
Asked why the committee featured security force members like General Sokha and Deputy National Police Commissioner Chhay Sinarith, as well as public service figures like Mr. Yentieng, Mr. Eysan said it was natural.
“It cannot be avoided because the CPP is the ruling party, therefore there are officials who have positions in the government—and they are all members of the CPP, which the law does not ban,” he said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the only way more propaganda could help the CPP win the 2017 and 2018 elections was if the ruling party is able to address problems of corruption, land insecurity, deforestation, and poor public services.
“These are the issues upon which the people will support or not support, and these are the needs of the people,” Mr. Sovann said. “If the CPP can resolve these issues, they will get support. Previously, they could not do that, and corruption still exists.”
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