More than 75 percent of people surveyed by a French-Cambodian research institute here said they want deposed first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh to return and run in July’s scheduled elections.
But nearly 60 percent of the 1,875 people interviewed did not give an answer when asked which political leader they favor, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the French Institute for Statistics, Opinion Polls and Research on Cambodia.
Of those who did respond, 16.6 percent said they favor Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, 13.4 percent backed Prince Ranariddh, and 7.8 percent voiced support for Khmer Nation Party President Sam Rainsy.
“This question apparently provokes the highest level of fear as reflected by the fact that a vast majority of the people interviewed did not want to express any opinion,” the poll’s author, Francois-Paul Yun, wrote in a report on the results of the survey.
And, Yun speculated, despite Hun Sen’s apparent supremacy as the most-favored political leader, other candidates would be likely to benefit from the support of the silent majority when it comes to polling day.
“Those people who express fear in the survey are more likely to vote for opposition parties than for the main ruling party led by Hun Sen, because those who prefer Hun Sen have little reason to be afraid in expressing their choice in this question,” he wrote.
At a press conference to explain the results of the polls, Yun admitted that there was no technical means to judge whether people were remaining silent out of fear or because they did not have a preference for a particular candidate.
Yun denied the institute is linked to the Khmer Nation Party or any other political group. He said it is an independent organization based in Paris and funded mainly by contributions from Cambodians living in France.