The Senate elections held over the weekend produced results as expected, analysts said Monday. But the polls, open only to already chosen members of local commune councils, don’t reflect the will of the people, election observers said. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party received about 78 percent of the votes, with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party taking the remainder, increasing from two to 11 seats.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the numbers showed voting along party lines, as expected, rather than commune councils extending the will of the people. “There is no relationship like that,” he said. Some commune councils are unpopular over their handling of community problems like land disputes, he said.
Cambodia has two legislative houses, the National Assembly, elected in national polls, and the Senate, elected by commune councils, which are chosen by popular vote.