While 20 different political parties will vie for votes at Cambodia’s national elections on July 29, the contest will be by any honest measure a one-horse race. Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), now in power for more than 33 consecutive years, eliminated the only serious competition ahead of the polls but will be hard-pressed to portray the elections as a legitimate expression of the popular will. The 19 other parties contesting the elections are seen by many as either proxies set up by the ruling party in an attempt to give the election a veneer of legitimacy, or too small and with too few followers to carry any seats.Full Article: Cambodia elections headed for a rigged one-horse race | Asia Times.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The National Election Committee has warned civil society organisations that intend to deploy observers to monitor the election on July 29 without being registered that they will face the law. The NEC issued a statement on Saturday informing all its Phnom Penh and 24 provincial election committees to closely monitor election watchdog Comfel for training its volunteers to monitor the election on July 29, noting that the NGO was infringing on the Law on Political Parties, election law and law on NGOs and associations.Full Article: NGOs warned of unofficial election monitoring - Khmer Times.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday slammed a call by a former leader of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for voters to boycott the country’s upcoming general ballot, saying that it was a violation of electoral law. Earlier, former CNRP President Sam Rainsy, who is living in self-imposed exile to avoid a string of convictions widely seen as politically motivated, reiterated a call he made last week, urging Cambodia’s voters to boycott the July 29 elections if the party is not allowed to participate. In a four-minute video posted on his Facebook page on Friday, Sam Rainsy said that the CNRP, which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November for its alleged role in a plot to topple Hun Sen’s government, is the only party fighting for democratic change in Cambodia, and that CNRP supporters and activists should stay away from the polls to refrain from legitimizing the election.Full Article: Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen Threatens Legal Action Over Call For Election Boycott.
Registration began Monday for political parties contesting Cambodia’s upcoming general election, with Prime Minister Hun Sen dismissing calls for a boycott by opposition supporters whose party was dissolved by pro-government courts last year. Hun Sen said in a speech to school graduates on Monday that the July 29 election will proceed as planned and will not be obstructed by any individuals or groups. Sam Rainsy, the self-exiled leader of what was the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, reiterated his group’s position that voters should not cast their ballots if his party is not allowed to contest the election.Full Article: Cambodia parties register as Hun Sen vows vote will go ahead | The Herald.
Cambodia’s former opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, called on Sunday for Cambodians to boycott a general election set for July 29 if his dissolved party isn’t allowed to take part. The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the Supreme Court last November at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, which alleged it was plotting to take power with the help of the United States. The CNRP and the United States have denied the allegations, which followed the arrest of current party leader Kem Sokha on treason charges over the alleged plot. He has denied the charges and called them a ploy to help Hun Sen win re-election.Full Article: Cambodia's former opposition leader calls for election boycott.
Cambodia’s ruling party swept the country’s Senate elections on Sunday, winning every seat in the legislature’s upper chamber in an all-but-predetermined contest that observers and analysts say is the latest symptom of the faltering political health of the southeast Asian country. Preliminary results from Sunday’s poll showed the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claimed all 58 elected seats in the Senate, according to the National Election Committee (NEC), further entrenching the dominance of the CPP and Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia since 1985. The poll’s result demonstrates that the “death knell for democracy” in Cambodia is “ringing very loud and clear,” Mu Sochua, who was deputy president of the former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), told TIME in an email. Sochua, who has lived in exile since fleeing Cambodia in October under threat of arrest, called on the international community to “speak and act with one voice” to prevent Cambodia’s reversion to a “one-party state.”Full Article: Cambodia: Ruling Party Wins Every Seat in 'Sham' Senate Poll | Time.
The European Union threatened Cambodia with economic sanctions on Monday after the country’s ruling party said it had won every seat in a Senate election in which many opposition supporters were stripped of their right to vote. EU foreign ministers said in a statement they were considering “specific targeted measures” against Cambodia, which diplomats said was a warning to long-time Prime Minister Hun Sen that senior government officials could face sanctions. The bloc said it was also reviewing the preferential trade treatment it gives Cambodia because of what rights groups and opposition politicians say is a crackdown by the premier, in power for 30 years, ahead of a national election in July.Full Article: EU threatens Cambodia with sanctions over election purge | Euronews.
Cambodia’s ruling party said on Sunday it had won every seat up for election on the Senate in a ballot held after thousands of opposition lawmakers and local council leaders were stripped of their right to vote. Preliminary results published by Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) showed it had won 58 seats on the 62-seat Senate, leaving the other three political parties with nothing. Official results were not yet available, but two officials on the National Election Committee (NEC) confirmed the result published by the CPP, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.Full Article: Cambodia's ruling party sweeps Senate election after crackdown.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of Hun Sen is poised to sweep a Senate election at the weekend, helping to consolidate the prime minister’s rule of more than 30 years amid a crackdown on the opposition. Sunday’s election for 58 members of the 62-strong Senate will see 123 members of parliament and 11,572 commune councilors vote at 33 polling stations across Cambodia. Two Senate members each are appointed by the king and the National Assembly. But rights groups and opposition politicians say the Senate vote is a farce that shows Hun Sen, who faces a national election in July, is not committed to multi-party democracy. Almost half of the commune councilors have been stripped of their right to vote in Sunday’s election after their opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by a court last November at the request of Hun Sen’s government.Full Article: Cambodia's Ruling Party Set to Sweep Senate Election | World News | US News.
Exiled Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Wednesday raised the prospect of violence if this year’s general election is not postponed, prompting a government accusation of a threat to the state. Cambodian politics has been in turmoil since the dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) last year, following the arrest of its leader, Kem Sokha, on treason charges he says were politically motivated. Sam Rainsy, a former CNRP leader now living in exile in France, called for a postponement of the July election, at which Prime Minister Hun Sen is now expected to easily extend his 33 years in power.Full Article: Cambodian Exile Says Postpone Election to Avoid Violence.
China will donate ballot boxes and voting booths for Cambodia’s 2018 election, an official said Thursday, weeks after Western democracies pulled their support in protest over a crackdown on opposition politicians. The US and the European Union withdrew their backing after a Phnom Penh court dissolved the main opposition party in November — a move they said stripped next year’s election of any legitimacy. The ruling all but guarantees a victory for premier Hun Sen, an authoritarian leader who has been methodically sweeping out rivals as he looks to extend his 32-year run in office. Western powers and rights groups have warned that the unprecedented crackdown could spell the death of democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.Full Article: China to donate ballot boxes and voting booths for Cambodia election - SE Asia - The Jakarta Post.
The European Union has suspended funding for Cambodia’s 2018 general election because the vote cannot be credible after the dissolution of the main opposition party, according to a letter sent to the national election committee on Tuesday. The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the country’s highest court last month at the request of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen after the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha for alleged treason. “An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be seen as legitimate,” read the Dec. 12 letter reviewed by Reuters.Full Article: EU suspends funding for Cambodian election.
Cambodia’s parliament on Monday amended the law to ban people from associating with anyone convicted of a criminal offense, a move the opposition says aims to hobble rivals of Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of a general election next year. Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) voted to change the election law to ban political parties from engaging with such individuals, who also face bans on participating in politics through images, audio recordings and writing. Political parties which violate the law face a five-year suspension or could be dissolved. The amendment effectively bans former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile in France to avoid arrest in a number of convictions, from campaigning from abroad for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).Full Article: Cambodia changes election law ahead of 2018 vote | Reuters.
Independent election observers praised Sunday’s running of the nationwide commune elections as largely smooth and peaceful, even while noting a raft of problems, including unauthorized officials at polling sites, intimidated observers and soldiers being brought to vote at some polling stations by the truckload. Dubbed the “Situation Room,” the coalition of NGOs that teamed up to send some 14,000 observers across the country described the voting as “smooth, safe and peaceful” but marred by “some minor irregularities.” Recounting one of the day’s most flagrant breaches, Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said 12 observers across two communes in Kandal province’s Loeuk Dek district were pressured into abandoning their duties by local authorities.Full Article: Independent Observers Say ‘Smooth’ Vote Still Marred by Problems - The Cambodia Daily.
Cambodia’s opposition made significant gains in local elections against the ruling party of authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday, according to the first results. The election for more than 1,600 communes would not mean a major shift in power, but could be a springboard for next year’s general election, in which Hun Sen aims to extend more than three decades in power in the Southeast Asian country. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) won 11 out of the first 80 communes for which results were declared. In the last local election, the ruling Cambodia National Rescue Party won 97 percent against a divided opposition.Full Article: Cambodian opposition makes gains in local elections | Reuters.
To vote or not to vote. For many of Cambodia’s saffron-robed Buddhist monks, it’s a difficult question. On one hand, activism among monks has a long tradition, from helping create a strong Khmer national identity during colonial rule, to leading the drive for independence in the 20th century, to protesting with the urban and rural poor in their land rights battles. On the other hand, as one of Cambodia’s top monks, Tep Vong has repeatedly said that monks should be a neutral force in an effort to protect the national religion’s hallowed image. At Wat Langka, one of Phnom Penh’s oldest pagodas, near Independence Monument, a respected veteran monk said he had never voted in his birth country.Full Article: Monks Debate Their Right to the Ballot Box - The Cambodia Daily.
Transparency International has pledged a rapid assessment of potential irregularities in Sunday’s commune elections by sending 1,100 observers across Cambodia—including, if needed, by boat and helicopter. At a news conference in Phnom Penh on Monday, Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said USAID had donated nearly $200,000 to fund the Election Day operations, in which a sample of 410 polling stations out of 22,148 would be observed. The plan was to produce a report more quickly than other organizations carrying out comprehensive assessments, Mr. Kol said.Full Article: Election Monitor: Sample-Based Observation Most Effective - The Cambodia Daily.
Rectifying one of the greatest sources of outrage and discontent surrounding previous elections, the voter list compiled for upcoming commune elections has passed an audit with flying colors, though commentators remain skeptical as to whether the country will actually witness free and fair elections on June 4. The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) on Tuesday published its full report on the completely remade voter list, following the NGO coalition’s release of a summary at a news conference last week. “This audit found that there are significant improvements on the quality of the 2016 voter list in its completeness, currency, and accuracy compared with the previous voter list,” Comfrel’s report says.Full Article: Audit Gives Thumbs-Up To Voter List; Doubts Linger - The Cambodia Daily.
The Minister of Cults and Religion has agreed to review laws governing the issuance of identification cards to monks which, in its current state, limits their right to vote. After answering questions at the National Assembly’s seventh commission, minister Him Chhem said they will be working on the various issues raised, including the development of the National Buddhist Institution, the expansion of the Buddhist University and the wages of monks. “We understand each other [in the meeting]. I have my report. We will solve the remaining problems gradually. We have measures to solve it,” he briefly said to reporters yesterday without elaborating on any of the issues raised in the assembly.Full Article: Push to allow monks to vote | Khmer Times | News Portal Cambodia |.
The National Election Committee (NEC) says it will consider prolonging voter registration in some areas only if it’s needed as compiling this year’s voter list ends in two weeks. Voter registration is changing from a manual to a computer system. Registration started on September 1 for next year’s commune elections and the national election in 2018. The process ends on November 29. Hang Puthea, a spokesman for the NEC, said yesterday that the organization’s top officials are going to the 25 provincial capitals to discover the challenges which have cut the rate of registrations from 70,000 in a day to below 30,000.Full Article: Election Body Ponders Registration Extension | Khmer Times | News Portal Cambodia |.