Three of the groups approved to monitor Cambodia’s election have close ties to Prime Minister Hun Sen, one headed by his son and the other two led by a man who was appointed by the Southeast Asian country’s strongman ruler as a “goodwill ambassador”. Cambodia heads to the polls on July 29 for an election criticized by the United Nations and Western countries as fundamentally flawed after the dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and imprisonment of its leader, Kem Sokha, last year. The United States and the European Union responded to the crackdown by withdrawing financial support and monitors from the election, a step followed by independent local and international NGOs that had overseen previous elections.
The National Election Committee (NEC) says it has approved 69 individual foreign observers, but doesn’t provide the number of institutions.
It has registered 107 domestic groups, which will be dominated by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), an organization led by Hun Many, the prime minister’s son and a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).