The Sam Rainsy Party in Sunday’s election took votes from people who in 1993 voted for Prince Norodom Ranarridh’s Funcinpec party, a Japanese survey released Thursday showed.
The survey was conducted in eight areas around Phnom Penh on July 27, the day after Cambodians cast their ballots. Japanese academic Hisatoshi Ohashi conducted the survey with a staff of eight in an effort to ascertain attitudes of urban Cambodian voters about the election. A random sample of 737 people were interviewed.
“Our survey showed that Funcinpec was not able to maintain their support—their figures were floating,” said Ohashi, who has written 19 books, including five on Cambodia. He is a professor of international relations at Shukutoku University.
About 52 percent of those who voted for Funcinpec in 1993, recast their ballots for the same party this time round. But almost 40 percent of former Funcinpec voters surveyed switched to Sam Rainsy on Sunday. Only 4 percent jumped to the CPP.
The survey also asked voters what their main reasons were for choosing their party.
CPP voters in the capital—about 22 percent of those surveyed—said they voted for the ruling party mainly because of its reputation of being “against the Khmer Rouge.”
Another main reason was that “Hun Sen is a good man,” as the surveyors put it, meaning the second prime minister had built many schools and libraries in his name, Ohashi said.
Those who didn’t vote for the CPP cited the parties’ “friendly attitudes toward Vietnam” and a feeling that the party was unable to “solve their economic difficulties” as the two main reasons.
Ohashi said the survey didn’t show how Phnom Penh voters were affected by violence in their streets last July.
“Did the CPP gain or lose votes because of violence in Phnom Penh last summer? That is a very important question, but not the reason for CPP’s victory,” Ohashi said.