Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Buddho! Buddho! Cambodian Buddhist clergy leaders support a former atheist KR commander

Patriarchs from both Buddhist sects in Cambodia (Photo: Sovannara, RFI)
Buddhist clergy leaders support Hun Xen’s premiership candidacy in 2013

23 Jan 2011
By Im Navin
Radio France Internationale
Translated from Khmer by Soch
Click here to read the article in Khmer

On Sunday, PM Hun Xen displayed a support letter from both of Cambodia’s Buddhist sects for his premiership candidacy in 2013. This political support letter from the clergy is an interference by monks in Cambodia’s politics. Monks’ role in politics is still facing a tug of war, some political parties want monks to vote, while others don’t want monks to be involved in politics.

After receiving the support for his premiership candidacy for the 2013 election from the CPP leadership on 07 January, on Sunday 23 January, Hun Xen displayed the support petition for his premiership candidacy from another source: that from monks from both sects, i.e. the Mohanikay and Thoammayut sects.

During the birthday celebration of Ven. Buor Kry, the supreme patriarch of the Thoammayut sect, on Sunday, Hun Xen thanked the support letter he received from patriarchs of both sects for his candidacy.

The issuing of the support letter by monks from both sects come at a time when the role of monks in Cambodia’s politics is still under a tug of war: some political parties do not want monks to be involved in politics, while others support voting by monks.

According to the Constitution, monks – like the general public – have the rights to vote, but according to the political party law, monks as well as soldiers are prohibited from being involved in politics.

Kul Panha, the executive director for election monitor Comfrel, believes that monks should remain neutral rather than supporting a particular political party.

With about 50,000 monks in Cambodia, their number is not large when compared the 8 million of eligible voters. However, politicians always tried to attract monks to their side because monks have great influence on the Cambodian people who are made up of 80% of Buddhist.


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