News / Asia

Cambodian Youth Becoming More Politically Engaged

A supporter, center, of the newly merged Cambodia National Rescue Party, holds an iPad during an election campaign on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Jul. 3, 2013.
A supporter, center, of the newly merged Cambodia National Rescue Party, holds an iPad during an election campaign on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Jul. 3, 2013.
Theara Khoun
In the past few months, an unprecedented number of Cambodians under the age of 30 have begun participating in the political process, holding rallies, volunteering and posting on social media. This could lead to positive social change, observers say. But it remains to be seen how their engagement will play out in general elections set for July 28.

Around 3.5 million of 9.5 million registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 30, according to the National Election Committee. Of those, some 1.5 million are first-time voters.

That may seem like a lot. But no one really knows how many of them will turn out to vote. Only about half of those registered in that age group took part in commune elections last year. Some were too far from their homes, some did not have enough information, and some were simply not interested.

Experts say that could change this year, pointing to a high number of volunteers as election monitors as one indicator.

About 70 percent of the 10,000 election observers for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections are under 30.

“I volunteered as an observer because I want to see a free and fair election and report any irregularities or fraud during the upcoming election,” said Leng Chhanvy, 26, who is based in Kampong Thom province.

Another volunteer, Ouk Pao, 23, said he wanted to encourage young people in his community to vote, by helping the Youth Chamber of Cambodia. He’s one of 720 youths in nine provinces volunteering to help get out the vote.

“The reason I decided to volunteer in this program is that I think youth are a driving force for positive change in society,” he said. “So I have collaborated with a few other youths in my community to educate people in various communities about the importance of the election and the necessary documents needed. After our explanations, they appeared to be a lot more active in election.”

Still, where some volunteers are engaged in the election, others interviewed by VOA Khmer said they didn’t feel the need to volunteer, though most said they would vote.

“I have not participated in any election activities so far, but I have targeted a party to vote for, so I will go to vote for that party,” Kim Seng, a 25-year-old food vendor in Phnom Penh, told VOA Khmer.

Voters like Kim Seng will have representatives from eight different parties to choose from when they go to the polls on July 28.

Cheang Sokha, executive director of the Youth Resource Development Council, said that Election Day will see a more dedicated generation, one whose members are increasingly passing election information between one another.

“They tend to share it with their circles of friends or families,” he said. “Also, they have actively participated in political campaigns for all political parties, which is quite different from previous mandates.”

Social media has helped spread some information, he said, but he noted there are still many of the younger generation living in rural areas, or in poverty, who lack resources and education.

That means lower participation, said Koul Panha, head of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections. For these youth, registering is difficult and election information is scant, he said.

Still Cheang Sokha remains confident that a greater voter turnout will take place this year.

This article originally appeared on VOA's Khmer service. 

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yippee from: Lost Land
July 12, 2013 12:56 AM
Let's just hope no one voting is a fraudulent voter.......hmmm one that does not even qualify b/c of their residency but will fake residency and Identification just to help the CPP. Oh but wait, how did those voters land in Cambodia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid