Kevin Ponniah | Publication date 20 January 2015 | 08:28 ICT
In a bid to more seriously engage Cambodian youth with politics and policy ahead of the 2017 and 2018 elections, a band of youngsters well-known for their coffee shop debates are taking the conversation online.
Politikoffee, a weekly forum with some 300 members that aims to build a “democratic political culture” beyond polarised party affiliations, will launch an official website on Saturday.
“We want to build an online forum . . . a free platform for youth who want to express their opinion [and] can post their articles there,” said co-founder Ou Ritthy.
With an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 young people becoming newly eligible voters each year, youth will be “game changers” in the forthcoming elections, Politikoffee says.
“They need to be informed, they need to understand political developments in Cambodia since there are [now] a lot of changes, new political parties coming, a lot of reform, a lot of negotiations,” Ritthy said.
The goal is also for political parties to be held accountable by youth voters, he added.
“We want to influence them and their agenda.”