Cambodian National Election 2013
Since the first national election organized by UNTAC in 1993, Cambodians have voted for three times, organized by Cambodinas (NEC): in 1998, 2003 and in 2008. In the first election in 1993, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party lost to Funcinpec and BLDP, but managed to protest and hang on in power. To avoid bloodshed again, the Former King Sihanouk invented the two Prime Minister system, with Prince Ranariddh as First PM and Hun Sen as Second PM. We had Co-Minister of National Defense and Co-Minister of Interior. It is probably unique in this world.
In 2013, Cambodians will go to vote again, for the fifth time, to “choose” the party and the leader they like. But, experience has shown that though elections related violence went down dramatically, the election is far from free and fair or acceptable to international standard.
We have seen mainly the same people (same faces, though they got older) in government, including the Prime Minister and most of his Ministers and Secretaries of States. The government is becoming bigger and bigger with 27 Ministries, 10 Deputy Prime Ministers, 15 State Ministers, hundreds of Secretary of States. It is one of the biggest governments in the world, provided to just 14.5 million of population. In Germany, with 80 million population, the government has only 15 ministries, one Vice-Chancellor and few secretaries of states. In addition, we have many “His/Her Excellencies”, Oknhas, Bandits; and it seems that everybody in Cambodia is an “Excellency”. Some time, we just refer to our colleague as Excellency or Samdech, as a joke. Maybe, we Cambodians like “title”. We could observe that some people put ” His Excellency, Neak Oknha, Dr. XYZ…. ” on his name card. Oh, my goodness! Also they have enrich and turned themselves from a poor background to multimillionaires through corruption, nepotism, stealing of natural and state resources etc.
On July 28, 2013; though national election will be upheld once again, but not much change expected. The CPP is going to win the majority again, with the support of the friendly media, a friendly National Election Committee, dependent justice system and the use of huge resource of the state for own benefits. However, the recent merger of the two opposition parties, Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party, would challenge the status quo. In the last commune election in 2012, votes of SRP and HRP combined, made up to 31% of the total votes. The CPP received around 60%, despite all the abuses, advantages and huge resources. In a real democratic society, a stronger opposition is needed. If the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) would win 40% or more, it would be great for the future of this country.