CPP Provincial Network Cranked Up

Practice Elections Help Party’s Allies To Vote ‘Correctly’

battambang town – The CPP has been organizing mock elections across this northwestern province to make sure their supporters know exactly what they have to do to get the party elected July 26.

“Right now, the party’s campaign is less important; what is more important for the time being is that we must train people how to tick for the ‘devada’ logo,” Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, also a party standing committee member, told a meeting of grassroots party leaders here Wednesday.

Party agents conducted mock election sessions in 89 communes, many of which included realistic details such as constructed mock polling stations complete with voting booths, ballot papers and ballot boxes, according to Khieu Sopheak, an aide to Sar Kheng.

“Polling stations” were erected in villages and CPP supporters were asked to take part in a practice vote. In Ek Phnom district, more than 8,000 people took part in the exercise, one local party official said Wednesday.

“We had a real election, a sec­ret election, and let people vote,” he told the meeting. “We found only 188 people did not vote correctly.”

A party worker explained that “correctly” meant ticking the box for the CPP.

he told the meeting. “We found only 188 people did not vote correctly.”

A party worker said “correctly” meant ticking the CPP box .

“If any of the CPP supporters…did not vote correctly then the trainers will teach them how to put a tick on the correct spot, in order to avoid wrongdoing again on July 26,” said 63-year-old Mov Thy, a commune-level activist from Ek Phnom district. “If supporters cannot put the tick in the right box, party votes will be lost.”

And those votes could go to arch-rival Funcinpec, next to the CPP on the ballot pa­per. Party officials are so anxious about losing votes they’ve made up a slogan for people to recite in the booth: count one, two, three, four, five from the bottom of the third line…and tick box 35, the CPP.

But even this isn’t perfect, said Khieu Sopheak: “I am concerned about old people. Some of them have never held a pen be­fore and their hands shake as they count slowly up the page, and they put a tick on Funcin­pec.”

Khieu Sopheak estimated the CPP has about 240,000 supporters in Battambang province. Sar Kheng is the party’s top candidate for the province.

The CPP also has a new group of voters to educate. Two parties here are asking supporters to vote for Sar Kheng, according to Khieu Sop­heak. Representatives of the Cam­bo­dian Women’s Party and the Khmer Ankgor Party took part in Wednesday’s party meeting and said they will educate their supporters to put a tick in box 35 on polling day.

The CPP has had a high-profile campaign here, with Sar Kheng flying by helicopter to rallies across the province and to other parts of the northwest, including Pailin and Banteay Meanchey. Every night in the center of Battambang town, a band plays popular songs on a stage festooned with the CPP logo.

An estimated 120,000 people have attended CPP political meetings in Battambang since campaigning began on June 25, said Khieu Sopheak, who is also the spokesman for the Interior Minis­try. The campaign will end with a mass rally in Thmar Kuol town in Battambang district. About 30,000 people are expected to attend, he said, as local operatives drive trucks with loudspeakers to every commune in the province.



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