PM Unveils His Strategy For Elections

In an apparent play on the word de­feat, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a crowd in Kandal province Tuesday he would employ a “DIFID Strategy” with any political party that tried to challenge the CPP’s supremacy.

DIFID, the premier said, could mean to “Divide-Isolate-Finish-Integrate-Develop,” though he warned that the final “D” would mean destruction for his opponents, who would secretly try to interfere with his party.

“I am the spy-ring master,” Hun Sen said at a road opening in Khsach Kandal district. “I have my men everywhere to know what you have done. Politicians should work to strengthen their own party rather than disturb my party.”

Cambodia’s political leaders have talked tough in recent months, alleging widespread corruption in opposing parties or suggesting that they could be legitimate challengers to Hun Sen’s longtime role as the country’s strongman.

But observers, including many in the diplomatic community, say very little is likely to be done in July’s scheduled general elections to upset the balance of power that has existed in Cambodia since the 1997 fighting, which saw Hun Sen take near-total control of power here.

The premier then took a gentler tone Tuesday, saying he hoped to repair the paved roads built during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum and promising to construct more roads in areas still isolated from Cambodia’s more de­veloped areas.

He said if given the opportunity again to lead the country after the elections, he would pave another 60 km of na­tional road in Prey Veng prov­ince’s Pea Reang district.

Hun Sen asked his supporters to restrain their zeal for him and allow even his critics to “walk on Hun Sen roads” or send their children to schools built by the premier. “Please, all [political] parties, erect your signs, even on roads Hun Sen built,” he said. “This is the time for peace—guns, even slingshots, are banned.”

(Ad­dition­al reporting by Seth Meixner)


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