More than 3,000 university students became members of the ruling CPP on Saturday during a ceremony on Phnom Penh’s Koh Pich presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The 3,600 students who joined the party were enrolled at about fifteen different universities including the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Royal University of Law and Economics, according to an advisor to Mr. Hun Sen and a university student, who was present at the ceremony.
“It was my first time to officially join any political party,” said Vibol Khmera, a fourth year nursing student at the University of Health Sciences, who attended the ceremony along with 60 others from her faculty.
“Samdech Hun Sen welcomed our decision to join the CPP and told us all to work hard,” Ms. Khmera added.
Ros Chantrabot, an adviser to Mr. Hun Sen and a member of the Royal Academy, said it was CPP policy to welcome the young generation to the party.
“We’ve accepted [student] members like these before, but never in a mass ceremony like this,” he said. “It was the right decision for the students to take up party membership, as only the CPP can develop the country, uphold security and keep the nation peaceful.”
The Koh Pich event was the second time in less than a week that Mr. Hun Sen has used the island for an event to rally the youth in the run-up to the national elections in July, and shows just how important support from Cambodia’s young population is becoming to the ruling party.
On January 6, Mr. Hun Sen lauded over a lavish party for more than 5,000 volunteer students involved in his nationwide land-titling initiative. During the dinner, he also promised all students who had participated in the program a gift of $100 each.
The land-titling program—which was started last year—sends student volunteers 6into the countryside to demarcate land for villagers. So far, 340,000 land titles have been handed out, and by June, Mr. Hun Sen is aiming for another 500,000 more families to be awarded titles.