The Candlelight Party (CP) has identified nine priority policy areas and announced five priority planks for their campaign platform for the upcoming national election in July.

CP is pledging that once the party wins the election, its first moves would be to implement the five priority points from their platform to ensure the people’s wellbeing and improve living standards.

The CP adopted these policies at its extraordinary congress on February 11 in Siem Reap province attended by party leaders, representatives and members from the capital and every province, as well as representatives from party branches abroad, for a grand total of approximately 7,000 people.

During the congress, the CP also nominated 76 additional members to the party’s board of directors and added three new vice-presidents – Son Chhay, Rong Chhun and Sok Hach – and also nominated 15 additional permanent committee members, according to the party’s press release on February 11.

“The congress approved nine priority party policy focus areas and five priority party messages for the 2023 election,” the press release said.

The nine priority policy areas focus on the economy, education and youth, employment, health, agriculture, protection of national and environmental assets, national governance, women’s empowerment, the national budget and spending.

The party’s five priority campaign platform planks are: Free medical check-ups at public hospitals; a monthly pension of 200,000 riel ($50) for people over the age of 65; a minimum monthly wage of 1.2 million riel for all workers and a minimum monthly salary of two million riel for civil servants; low prices of fuel and agriculture fertilisers and low-interest loans for farmers; as well as quality education and the creation of jobs for one million young people.

Chhay said at the congress that the CP would establish a healthcare system focused on the wellbeing of the people through a healthy, hygienic, chemical-free diet and living in an unpolluted environment. The party said it would use legal mechanisms to eliminate counterfeit drugs and other practices that are exploitative.

“Therefore, the CP will continue to establish mechanisms to protect the health of the people affected by economic activities, including industry, mining, hotels and large agricultural farms. CP will expand education to the people on how to provide basic healthcare in schools and widely disseminate health protection programmes to the people,” he said.

Chhay added that the CP would promote the decentralisation of the public health sector by establishing an authority responsible for the development of health protection systems to meet the needs of the people, in collaboration with NGOs and private medical clinics, to work together to meet the people’s needs.

CP spokesman Kim Sour Phirith said at the congress that the five priority points of the campaign platform were aimed at making it easier for activists, leaders and party members to deliver these “five short key messages” to voters and to encourage party supporters to do so at all localities throughout Cambodia.

He added that after a thorough discussion at a two-day workshop attended by party leaders, the party chose these five key messages taken from the nine key party policy areas.

“The political message is essentially that the CP will implement these five key priority points once we win the election and we lead the new government. The five points aim to ensure people’s wellbeing and to improve their livelihoods across the country,” he said.