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The Candlelight Party’s campaign rally in Phnom Penh on May 21, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)

Campaigning Kicks Off for June 5 Commune Election

VOD reporters followed the launch of the official campaigning period for the June 5 commune election on Saturday morning. The Candlelight Party held a march through Phnom Penh, while the ruling CPP conducted gatherings within communes. Other parties like the Grassroots Democratic Party and the Khmer National United Party also kicked off their campaigning.

‘I Want to Be the One Who Can Make a Change in My Village’

Sor Sarath is the only woman commune-chief candidate for the Grassroots Democratic Party. Sarath, a 38-year-old tailor, says she is committed to pushing for women’s rights and participation in social activities in Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach commune. The task is not a simple one but would be a lot easier if men got out of the way, she says.

Sewage flows into the river from a drain in Phnom Penh's Daun Penh district on May 16, 2022.

City Officials ‘Don’t Know’ of Sewage Concerns Despite Arrests Over Issue

Authorities stopped environmentalists investigating sewage flows into Phnom Penh rivers a year ago, jailing them for plotting. But black, foul-smelling discharges are continuing even as city officials said this week that they were unaware of a problem.

Indigenous People’s Party president Plang Sin in Bosra, in Mondulkiri’s Pech Chreada district, on May 15, 2022. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)

‘Elephant Party’ Wants to Protect Indigenous Land

The party won just over 1,000 votes in Mondulkiri in 2017, and many local residents don’t even know its name — only its elephant logo. But amid rampant land loss — burial grounds seemingly targeted by brokers — the Indigenous People’s Party wants to push back.

Bunong villager Pon Peul herds her buffaloes back as the dusk sets in, in March 2022. (Tran Techseng/VOD)

‘Everything Changed’: Cambodia’s Gold Rush Weighs on Indigenous Livelihoods

Labeled a “great achievement” for Cambodia’s post-pandemic recovery, the country’s biggest goldmine also exemplifies some of the challenges facing indigenous communities seeking to protect traditions. “It’s something very dangerous to lose culture, lifestyle and traditional practices,” one Bunong lawyer said.

Opinion: Revitalizing Phnom Penh’s Streets as Destinations

Phnom Penh’s streets are among the city’s few fully public spaces, and are key to a more vibrant and livable city. Future Forum fellow Ses Aronsakda floats an idea for turning St. 184 into a people-friendly “shared street” from riverside to Monivong Blvd.

Sand dredging workers use the pressure of water from a hose to push sand into a pipe that will transport it to a sand depot or construction site, in Phnom Penh on May 11, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)

Roar on the River: A Torrent of Sand Shores Up City’s Rise

Reporters out on the Bassac river in a hired fishing boat counted 43 barges in total at various stages of the sand dredging process in two hours in one afternoon last week.

A motorist rides past political party billboards in Kampong Cham province's Sdao commune on May 8, 2022.

‘Color Revolution’ Activist Now Seeks Elected Office

Kung Raiya has gone to jail for seeking a “color revolution” and later for selling Kem Ley commemorative T-shirts. The prison stints initially deterred him from being politically active, but with three weeks to go for the June election he is running for commune chief in Kampong Cham.

The Comeback Bid: Sin Rozeth Returns to Contest O’Char

Candlelight candidate Sin Rozeth is in her third campaign to become O’Char’s commune chief, after losing her seat in 2017 following the dissolution of the CNRP. The former commune chief hopes to make a comeback in June and pick up her agenda to improve the commune’s infrastructure.

Loggers cutting down protected forest in Kampong Speu's Metta forest, edging closer to a pagoda with a nature-loving monk.

Soldiers’ Forest Clearing Approaches Nature-Loving Monk’s Pagoda

Monks and villagers say that a group of people purportedly hired by the military to cut down Kampong Speu’s Metta forest are continuing to destroy a densely forested area full of wildlife, and are now only about 200 meters from a pagoda inhabited by a nature-protecting monk.