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Cambodian People’s Party Wins Election – Hun Sen Returned as Prime Minister

Members of the Cambodian Royalist party, FUNCINPEC vote in the election
Members of the Cambodian Royalist party, FUNCINPEC vote in the election

The Cambodian People’s Party has won the Cambodian general election, with Prime Minister Hun Sen returned as leader. Mr Hun Sen has been at the helm of Cambodian politics since the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

Following the election, the Cambodian Office of the Council of Ministers issued a statement from a delegation of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI) defending the electoral process:

“The ICAPP-CAPDI considers the elections in Cambodia as a triumph of popular will and a victory of the Cambodian people in their quest to build a better future based on the supremacy and sanctity of the ballot. That the elections were free, fair and transparent, and, above all, peaceful, non-violent and smooth bear testimony to the fact that Cambodian democracy has not only matured but come of age politically. We extend our heartiest congratulations to the people, political parties, leaders, media, civil society and the National Electoral Commission of Cambodia for the successful and orderly conduct of the general election.”

Jose de Venecia, former speaker of the Philippines, and Jusuf Kalla, former Vice President of Indonesia led the delegation.

The European Union, however, gave a more lukewarm response on the conduct of the vote:

“The High Representative congratulates the people of Cambodia on the peaceful and calm conduct of the elections on the 28th July. The high level of participation in the election and the mobilisation of the young people during the campaign are encouraging signs for democracy in Cambodia.

“The National Elections Committee took a number of steps prior to the elections responding to some recommendations of past EU Election Observation Missions. However, the High Representative regrets that the authorities did not take all necessary actions to address some of the key shortcomings such as improving the reliability of the voter list, ensuring equitable access to media and preventing the use of State resources including campaigning by civil servants and the military.

“Taking note of the preliminary results, all parties should now positively contribute to the future of the country and engage constructively to pursue the necessary reforms aimed at further enhancing the democratic process in Cambodia.

“The EU hopes that any dispute addressed to the National Election Committee and the established judicial mechanisms will be dealt with fairly and swiftly. The EU appeals to all parties to maintain a peaceful and democratic spirit.”

A delegation from the Democratic Party of the Republic of Korea found that elections in Cambodia were improving and suggested:

  • Upgrading fairness of the media and usage of social media
  • cutting campaign costs by putting away unnecessary mass mobilization, and
  • reforming the voter list, for instance, by adopting a citizen-registration-number system through IT technology.

The Sam Rainsy Party said in February 2013 that it expected the July elections to “run fundamentally counter to international standards”, criticizing the manipulation of the voter list in favour of the ruling party.

Although international observers urged the Cambodian National Rescue Party (which includes Sam Rainsy) to lodge complaints within the established appeals process, the opposition has officially rejected the results of the polls. The rejection was issued in spite of the worst ever result for the ruling CPP. The CNRP are calling for a joint investigation into the election with international oversight.

About Politics Desk

Politics Desk
Editors and staffers from the Politics Desk at The Global Herald.

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