On this 66th Anniversary of the birth of the Cambodian People Party (CPP), many thousand party members were assembled at a celebration in Koh Pich that was presiding over by its president, Prime Minister Hun Sen. He spoke volume on the accomplishments of the CPP in liberating the country from the harsh rules of the Khmer Rouge and contributing to the peace making and the national development. It is also an opportunity for him to go after his rival party and NGOs that were not in his side.
For sure this was challenged by his rival, the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), the second largest in the Kingdom. Both sides are prepared for the next legislative elections planned for July 7, 2018; it is already early campaigning …
It is worth to present an overview of this CPP. Much research papers were written on the subject, this one is based on the Khmer book by Vandy Kaonn “Histoire du Cambodge” (Volume II published in 2008) in France.
In fact the CPP was born as Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP). The story said that on February 8, 1951 a group of 9 Khmer from the Indochinese Communist Party met with Vietnamese Communist Le Duc Tho to form a Khmer Communist Party having good relations with the other two, the Vietnamese and the Lao. But the formal name was Khmer People Revolutionary Party, because it seems that the people is allergic to the word “communist”. But some said that the the February 8 was the date of the dissolution of the Indochinese Communist Party opening way for the 3 countries of Indochina to form their own party, that led to the creation over 2 and a half weeks later, of the Khmer branch on June 26, 1951 confirming the name of Khmer People Revolutionary Party. Hun Sen in a book written on 13 Years of the March of Kampuchea said they were triplets born from the same mother. The triplets were the Khmer, Lao and Vietnam revolutionary parties, and the mother was the Indochinese Communist Party that was created by Ho Chi Minh in 1930.
So the KPRP was presided over by Achar Mean alias Son Ngoc Minh with Tou Samouth as Secretary and Sieu Heng as Committee member in charge of military affairs and Chan Samay as permanent Committee member.
Later on with development of the world politics and the independence of Cambodia in 1953 followed by the Geneva Conference in 1954, there were a split in the KPRP into 3 groups: The first to go North Vietnam led by Achar Mean with Pen Sovann in the line, the second by Norn Suon forming the “Krom Pracheachon” to legally contest at the elections organized in virtue of the Geneva Conference in 1955. The third group led by Tou Samouth who choose to stay underground in Cambodia for clandestine anti government activities.
Then came Saloth Sar and his group that came to join them in the “Maquis” operating first with the support of the communist Vietnam and later has having developed national ideals. With the pro Vietnam moving to Norh Vietnam, the Khmer Communists were transforming the Revolutionary Party to the Kampuchea Workers Party at its second congress on September 28-29, 1960 in line with Vietnamese Workers Party and the Lao.
In Vandy Kaonn book, the Kampuchea Communist Party was proclaimed in September 1966, but Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) declared that the birth of Kampuchea Communist Party was the 27-28, 1960. Anyway for the current CPP leadership the 1960 episode linked to the Saloth Sar rule was a “party or revolution treason” by Saloth Sar alias Pol Pot, according to a writing by Hun Sen in 1991. So the birth date of the party remains the same as June 28, 1951, even though its name was changed from KPRP to CPP a few years after the Pol Pot regime was sacked, and it seems that the militant solidarity of the KPRP turning CPP with the Vietnamese Communist Party remains the same since then.
History is to learn from, not to live with, as an old saying go, along with another that says “Democracy Dies in Darkness“. In conclusion, it is up to the Khmer people to make a good decision when voting at the next July 2018 elections, a year from now.