As Cambodian officials rolled out a new voter registration system on Thursday, questions were raised about the nation’s ability to conduct free and fair elections. While Cambodian authorities announced a three-month registration process that will run from Sept. 1 to Nov. 29, the U.N. ambassador to Cambodia expressed concern that the country’s current political situation could poison the process. “The European Union has expressed concerns over certain actions of the authorities in implementing legal procedures against the opposition party’s officials, civil society’s representatives, and the National Election Commission (NEC) deputy general secretary,” said Ambassador George Edgar. “Cambodia’s authorities must ensure an atmosphere that all political parties and nongovernmental agencies are able to do their jobs without obstacles,” he added during a ceremony announcing the launch of the registration system.
NEC Deputy Secretary-General Ny Chakriya is one of five people arrested by the government in its wide-ranging probe into an alleged affair opposition Cambodia national rescue party leader Kem Sokha had with a young hairdresser named Khom Chandaraty.
Staffers with the rights group ADHOC Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony were also arrested in the probe. Ny Chakrya and the activists are charged with bribery or accessory to bribery for allegedly attempting to pay Khom Chandaraty hush money.
The charges are viewed by many as an attempt by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to smear the opposition before local elections in 2017 and national elections in 2018.
Full Article: Cambodia Cranks Up Election Process Raising Fraud Concerns.