Youth Showing More Political Engagement as Election Approaches

Theara Khoun, VOA Khmer

1017283_10151571490638800_337346509_nPHNOM PENH – 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 on Election Day.

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 simply were 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 that 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.

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4 Responses to "Youth Showing More Political Engagement as Election Approaches"

  1. Arun Reah says:

    I am very glad to hear that youths of nowadays are interested in the country politics and got involved with parties’s rallies according to their tendency. However, i strongly believe that the current youths’ involvement with social activities and politics are far different from those of the elderly people surviving from pot pot time. the Ideas and the way of thinking our youths are modern tending to democracy and genuine development. Through updated news they have received by various modern technologies and independent medias, youths dream of seeing our country develop, prosper, advance like other civilized countries in the world.
    I am optimistic that our youths hate corruptions, dictatorship, nepotism, violence, injustice and hope that they will vote for a party that has good principles which will lead the national ship to fame, prestige and civilization.

  2. បើគាំទ្រ CPP វិញម្ចាស់page ចោទថាយួន អាយ៉ងយួន អាក្បត់ជាតិ…

  3. cheath says:


    ១- ព្រះបានសម្តែងថាយើងសំណាង–បុណ្យដែលយើងសាងឱ្យកើតជាមនុស្ស

    ឱ្យស្គាល់សខ្មៅ ឱ្យស្គាល់ត្រូវខុស–ឱ្យស្គាល់ទាបខ្ពស់ គុណ ទោស សុខ ទុក្ខ ។
    ២- មនុស្សយើងកើតមកប្រាថ្នាចង់ល្អ–ទោះមានឬក្រ តស៊ូទៅមុខ
    ចង់មានសេរី ចង់បានក្តីសុខ–ចង់បានស្តម្ភស្តុក ស្រណុកចិត្តកាយ ។
    ៣- កើតមនុស្សហើយ មកកើតជាខ្មែរ–សំណាងពីបុព្វេបានផ្តល់អោយយើង
    ៤- ស្រុកកើតសង្គ្រាមហ៊ុនសែនចេញមុខ–បញ្ចៀសនាំសុខជូនដល់ប្រជា
    ទាញចេញពីស្លាប់ខ្មែរគ្រប់ជន្មា–ដែលជួបប្រហារដោយសារប៉ុលពត ។
    ៥- ជាតិខ្មែរពេញសុខឥឡូវមានទម្មិល–ក្រុមអាតិរិច្ឆានពួកបក្សប្រឆាំង
    ហេតុឃ្លានអំណាចវាស្រែកឡូងឡាង– ភរភូតប្រូខ្លាំងច្បាំងនិងសន្តិភាព។
    ៦- មហិច្ឆតាដាច់បង្ហៀរអារង្សី-សុខា –អាខួរក្បាលឆ្កែតែអួតខួរមនុស្ស
    ពេលហានិយាយ ផុតថ្លៃខ្លួនហួស–ជាជនទុរយសរស់ធ្ងន់ផែនដី ។
    ៧- មហិច្ឆតា ដាច់បង្ហៀរអាឆ្កែទាំងពីរ-អាតិរិច្ឆានរង្សី-អាតិរិច្ឆានសុខា
    ពេលវាងាប់ទៅអាសោចឈ្មោះកេរ្តិ៏–ជាប់ឈ្មោះពូជឆ្កែ ជាប់តអម្បូរ ។
    ១- ខ្ញុំបានអានកំណាព្យមិត្តកវី—ដែលចុះផ្សាយថ្មីទើបខ្ញុំបានដឹង
    យើងជេររិះគន់ គេមុខជាខឹង—រូបយើងក៏ចឹង ខឹងដូចគ្នាដែរ?
    ២- បើជេរគេខឹង ចឹងខ្ញុំសរសើរ—ទៅតាមដំណើរដែលមានហូរហែ
    ឆ្នាំចិតប្រាំបួនពេលនោះស្រុកខ្មែរ—មិនទាន់សុខទេច្បាំងនិងប៉ុលពត ។
    ៣- ករណីក-៥ គឺករណីយ៏ជាតិ—ជាតិខ្មែររួមគ្នាការពារទឹកដី
    មិនការពារទេជិវិតត្រូវក្ស័យ—ប៉ុលពតប្រល័យអោយក្ស័យសូន្យពូជ ។
    ៤- ពួកបក្សប្រឆាំងពូជខ្មែរក្រហម—ខ្មែរសុខមិនព្រមវាប៉ងសម្លាប់
    ៥- វាថាសុទ្ធយួនអ្នកជឿហ៊ុនសែន—ទោះងាប់រាប់លានគ្មានបញ្ហាអី
    សម្លាប់អោយអស់កុំទុកធ្ងន់ដី—ទ្រព្យវាកេរ្តិ៏ដីធ្លាក់ដល់ដៃវា ។
    ៦- អគារសំណង់ដែលសង់ដេរដាស—មានស្ពានអាកាសសង់ខ្ពស់លលៃ
    ៧- រីឯប្រឡាយទំនប់ស្រះទឹក—លុបចោលកុំនឹករបស់ពួកយួន
    ៨- អារង្សី-សុខាវាថាសម្អាត—បោសអោយអស់ញាតិពួកអាយ៉ងយួន
    អាជឿហ៊ុនសែនត្រូវសម្លាប់ស្ទួន—ទោះតាឫុដូនត្រូវតែកម្ទេច ។
    ៩- ពួកអាបរទេសរកស៊ីស្រុកខ្មែរ—ទោះឪកុងសែក៏ត្រូវបណ្តេញ
    ១០- ប្រមូលមនុស្សប្រើទើបមានការងារ—អោយវាគ្រប់គ្នាទើបវាមិនជ្រេញ
    ស្រែកអត់ការធ្វើនាំអោយវាធុញ—ពាក្យពិតអត់លុញអាខាថាច្នេះ ។
    ១១- នេះខ្មែរក្រហមនាសម័យថ្មី—តាមពាក្យវាស្តីរង្សី-សុខា
    ខ្ញុំអត់បំផ្លើសចារតាមពាក្យវា—ពិតពាក្យវាថាសច្ចារច្នេះឯង ៕

  4. បើគាំទ្រ CPP ចោទថាយួន អាយ៉ងយួន អាក្បត់ជាតិ…