The SRP is currently electing youth representatives as part of a bid to capture the burgeoning youth vote, party officials said.
“The SRP is focusing on youth. We want them to unite for their futures, for their employment and good education,” said SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang.
Cambodia’s post-conflict children are now coming of age, and many of them can’t find jobs. In the run-up to next year’s national election, the SRP is seeking to cast itself as the party that can fix the youth unemployment problem.
Elections of commune-level youth representatives began in late October, and will culminate with a national election before the end of the month, Eng Chhay Eang said.
He added that the party had so far conducted elections in 1,000 communes and recruited 40,000 youth members. The party plans to teach them English and computer skills, to better equip them for the labor market.
The SRP has had a “youth movement” since its inception, but has started electing young party representatives only this year.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said that the SRP aims to create jobs for young Cambodians by reducing corruption and bolstering private sector employment.
He also said the party would instate curricular reform to give the nation’s youth the skills they need to get jobs, by, for example, initiating foreign language instruction in primary school.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap dismissed the SRP’s efforts as “propaganda to attract youth votes.”
He said the CPP has long had a youth movement. “We will convince the youth to vote for the CPP by explaining our major achievement: We have built this country with our bare hands. In the future, we plan to eliminate poverty and build the country into a developed nation,” he said.
The government, he added, helps young Cambodians get scholarships to study overseas, and then funnels them into good ministry jobs.