Unity of Party or Person?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Live Coverage: Cambodia’s Commune Election 2017


(Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Live Coverage: Cambodia’s Commune Election 2017
Cambodia Daily | 2 June 2017

Update: 11: 53 a.m.:
As the procession portion of today’s CPP rally draws to a close, it’s worth comparing it to a roughly similar rally held by the CNRP two weeks ago. The ruling party’s organizational advantage really shined today, with huge turnout, good organization, and the extra star power of the prime minister himself.
In his first speech, Mr. Hun Sen riffed that his wife and children had advised him to wear a CPP short-sleeved polo shirt because that’s what his supporters would be wearing. That kind of populist touch was on display today.
The opening CNRP rally on May 20, on the other hand, felt more energetic and organic but also more chaotic. Let’s see how the rest of today turns out. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 37 a.m.:
Not everyone was thrilled with today’s street-clogging election rallies. A young student expressed frustrated because the parade blocked the road he needed to use to get to an 11 a.m. English exam. “I think it’s taking forever,” he said, sipping an iced coffee drink layered with whipped cream.
The student said he had no plans to vote: “I’m not taking any side. It’s complicated.” (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 33 a.m.:
Hun Sen is wrapping up his speech at a Chroy Changvar district roundabout.

(Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 27 a.m.:

CNRP supporters join final day campaign. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 25 a.m.:
 As Prime Minister Hun Sen’s convoy was leaving the center stage this morning, the rally emcee announced that supporters could exchange their CPP facial stickers for food tomorrow.
He said: “Do not throw away the stickers because you can use them to eat breakfast free tomorrow morning.”
Unfortunately, he did not say which restaurants would accept the stickers and exchange them for rice porridge, noodle soup or fried eggs and coffee. (Kuch Naren/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 21 a.m.:

CNRP rally in Phnom Penh. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)

Update: 11: 12 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen used his first election campaign in decades to appeal to the little children standing on either side of Monivong Boulvevard as his convoy passed through Phnom Penh this morning.
“Thank you nephews and nieces…when you reach the voting ages, please vote for CPP,” he said.
He might be enjoying himself. He also vowed to join a rally for the 2018 national election. (Kuch Naren/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 10: 29 a.m.:
Cambodia Daily reporter Sek Odom climbs atop an anchor sculpture to get a better photograph of today’s CNRP commune election rally in Phnom Penh.

(Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)

Update: 10: 22 a.m.:
Former CNRP president Sam Rainsy is talking with opposition supporters via Skype at today’s final pre-election rally.  He says: “Thank you to many people, especially the youth, that have sacrificed to join the CNRP, which will rescue the country.” He also vowed to “meet all brothers and sisters soon, when our party is successful and we win the national election in 2018.” Commune elections, which will gauge party support across the country, are Sunday. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)

(Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9: 58 a.m.:

(Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9: 56 a.m.:
The prime minister is standing atop a truck that’s moving at the speed of a slow jog speed through the crowd as a helicopter and various drones circle overhead. He’s using a microphone to yell out: “Vote for the CPP! Please, please!” The optics of this rally are impressive and clearly well thought out. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)

(Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9: 50 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen just finished a marathon speech in scorching heat, and kilometer after kilometer of supporters on his eponymous boulevard are now looking toward the stage, eager for a glimpse of their leader. The crowd is larger, older, and far mellower than the CNRP rally here two weeks ago.
Update: 9:43 a.m.:

(Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:41 a.m.:
Following short speeches from CNRP lawmakers and activists, the party took a break for 30 minutes of music. Following that, the rally featured a live Skype call with exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
Mr. Rainsy dropped out of the party and off the ticket back in February after the ruling party amended the Law on Political Parties to make it easier to eliminate the CNRP because he had a criminal record. So officially, he’s out. But his image remains — on shirts and hats, at least — and his voice is being used in ad spots. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:30 a.m. 

(Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:19 a.m.
Yim Sovann addresses a crowd of supporters and talks about sharing the benefits of development and changing the leadership. Mentions Sam Rainsy, to big applause, and also says Kem Sokha will arrive around 2 for the march. “win or not?” “Win!” Call and response with crowd 3 times to end his speech. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)

(Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)

Update: 9:10 a.m.
Prime Minister Hun Sen talked about allegations that the ink used for thumbprinting ballots on Sunday was erasable with specific solvents. He told the crowd: “I would like to appeal to all political parties to accept the election results. Please don’t accuse the ink of being erasable. Don’t be frustrated……We don’t know who will lose, who will win, but we hope that we will win.” (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:05 a.m.

Hun Sen at rally (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

(Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
A woman in the crowd hold a portrait of the prime minister. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:55 a.m.
“Which party toppled the Pol Pot regime?” Hun Sen asked the crowd at the CPP’s final campaign rally this morning. “Which party has the most achievements developing the country?”
The prime minister is speaking extensively about Pol Pot and the CPP’s role in removing his regime.
He also divulged the reason he broke with tradition to campaign today. He said it was in response to Facebook petitioners asking why he did not join the first CPP rally on May 20. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:50 a.m.
In what’s been described as his first campaign appearance in many years, Prime Minister Hun Sen admonished those from other countries whom he feels have meddled in Cambodia’s affairs. He said: “Foreigners: Do not interfere in government affairs.” (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:40 a.m.
Hun Sen is talking about the government’s effort to improve people’s incomes and standard of living. “All of the garment factory workers, you have jobs today because of the government, which is ruled by the CPP.” The prime minister also appealed to migrant workers, saying the government had worked hard to help them become legal in Thailand. (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:35 a.m.

Crowd awaits Hun Sen
Update: 8: 25 A.M.:
Hun Sen circled the crowd in his helicopter for several minutes. It then landed and he was driven to the stage on Hun Sen Boulevard in Phnom Penh. When he got out and mingled with the crowd in the scorching heat, the people swarmed to touch him or better yet, take a selfie. Early in his speech, the prime minister talked about the importance of this election. A win on Sunday is bigger than a commune chief, he says, adding it’s a win for the party and for the country.
Mr. Hun Sen, who was recently hospitalized in Singapore for extreme exhaustion, isn’t expected to speak long.
Update: 7: 55 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen is circling the crowd in his helicopter as they cheer. Tens of thousands of supporters out in the heat this morning. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update:  7:43 a.m.: 
Tens of thousands of CPP supporters have lined Hun Sen Boulevard, waiting for the man who gave it it’s name. With very heavy security, this is a much more carefully choreographed rally than the one Kem Sokha and the opposition held here two weeks ago, with significantly higher turnout. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)






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