A message from CPP President Chea Sim on TV and radio Wednesday was all that marked this year’s 20th anniversary of the former communist party’s founding.
CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith said party officials were “too busy” setting up the new government to organize an anniversary ceremony. Besides, he said, “We don’t want to spend a lot of money.”
Last year, then-Second Prime Minister Hun Sen announced his intention to establish a new holiday on Dec 2 to celebrate the formation of the anti-Khmer Rouge resistance movement that eventually became the CPP.
Khieu Kanharith said Wednesday that a new holiday is unlikely right now. However, there might be a special celebration Jan 7 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the expulsion of the Khmer Rouge from the capital by the Vietnamese army, Khieu Kanharith said.
Chea Sim’s speech focused on the recent end of the political deadlock. He praised King Norodom Sihanouk for his role in the formation of the new government and promised cooperation between the CPP and Funcinpec.
“We believe that everything we have today and will have in the future cannot be divided from the spirit of Dec 2 and Jan 7,” Chea Sim said. “The CPP will cooperate closely with Funcinpec…and only understand and believe each other and forget the past bitter internal conflict. Then, we can maintain peace and stability and can act efficiently.”
Anti-Pol Pot communists in Kratie province founded the National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea, or FUNSK on Dec 2, 1978.
On Jan 7, 1979, the Vietnamese army drove the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh after invading Cambodia on Dec 25, 1978. The Vietnamese then helped FUNSK leaders—who had by then renamed themselves the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea—set up a communist government including Heng Samrin, now the CPP’s honorary president, and Hun Sen, the current prime minister.
The PRPK renamed itself the Cambodian People’s Party in 1991.