As I biked on one of the main roads to the office, I noticed a lot of small flags, Cambodian flags and political party flags fixed to every construction fence and to light posts, party banners stapled to trees and wooden poles. At the first stop light, I was next to a man dressed in a buttoned down shirt riding a modto. On the back of his helmet a political party logo sticker. The campaign must have officially began. Officially, the campaign is only a month long, starting June 28 and ending on election day, July 28.
To say the campaigning is noticeable, at least in Phnom Penh, is an understatement. Various parties, primarily the ruling party and the “opposition,” decorate tuk tuks and cars and equip them with loudspeakers, which go down various city street usually blasting music, perhaps political songs, that can’t be missed.
Plus, people stick their favorite party’s logo everywhere. Large political party logos on SUVs are not uncommon and I’ve seen several people even putting them on their modto helmets.
When I was down by the riverside one evening on the weekend, I saw a big commotion. It was a parade, a CPP parade, with cars with banners, and trucks decked out, loud music blaring, with people dancing in the back, everyone sporting political party shirts and caps. I knew this took place on the first day of the campaign but I was puzzled that it was going on again. People shouted their support, delighted to celebrate the parading, and join in the celebratory spirit. I asked someone if this was something that happened every day? Yes. Wow. Then a little while later I saw a similar parade going the other direction, a CNRP parade. I was at a different shop and again asked if this was an everyday occurrence. Two parades everyday? Yes, he said, every day for 31 days.