Facts about National Election 2013 in Cambodia
The first national election was organized on September 1, 1946, when Cambodia was still under the French Protectorate. Parti Liberal got 20.8% of the votes and received 14 seats of then 67 members National Assembly. Other party, Parti Democrate got 74.6% (50 seats) while independent candidates received 4.4% (3 seats).
The upcoming election will be the parliamentary election # 15. Besides, since the establishment of the National Election Committee under the Second Kingdom (since 1993-), 10 national and sub-national elections have been held.
- Date: Sunday, July 28, 2012; from 7:00am to 3:00pm.
- Eligible voters: 9,675,453 registered (Population: 14,5 million).
- Cost: $20M, government would cover all. Donor: India provided ink costs about $830,000; EU provided two technical experts to National Election Committee (NEC) and some other countries just provided technical assistance.
- Election campaign: from 26.06.13 and will last till 27.07.13. Each party has 15 minutes of pre-recorded promotional spots aired on TVK. The state-run FM 96 MHz and FM 105.7 MHz will broadcast it also in the morning and afternoon.
- Registration in 2013: 08 parties participated out of the 43 parties registered at the MOI to date. In 2003, 23 parties contested.
- Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), with Hun Sen as candidate of the Prime Minister. He has been PM since 1985, when he was 33 years old
- Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), with Kem Sokha as Acting President and Sam Rainsy as candidate of the Prime Minister
- FUNCINPEC, with Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey, as PM candidate
- Khmer Nationality Party
- League for Democracy Party (LDP)
- Khmer Anti-Poverty Party
- Republic Democracy Party
- Khmer Economic Development Party
- 12,307,150 ballots printed 2,631,697 more ballots than the people on the national voter lists. It costs $2 million. NEC said that 11,082,400 ballots papers will be distributed to 19,009 polling stations, while 1,224,750 reserve ballots will be sent to provincial election committees, who will distribute them in the event that the ballots are spoiled. Opposition is having big doubt about amount of reserved ballots, which could be used in favor of the ruling party by CPP dominated NEC (TCD, 13.06.13).
- Observers: almost no observers from the EU countries, but 30 international observers; 13,416 are parties agents and 15,885 national observers (RSK, 05.07.13). As of 27.07.13, NEC stated that there are 40,142 national observers and 291 international observers (NEC live press conference, 27.07.13 at TVK)
- Polling stations: 19,009
- 180,000 staff members employed
Prospect of the Election
Eight parties are contesting for the 123 Seats in the National Assembly. However, only the ruling CPP and the CNRP will play big roles in this election. The CNRP led by Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha is posing as real challenge for the CPP. It hopes to attract the voters, who did not go to vote in the last election, about 20% of the 9 million registered voters. In the last commune election in 2012, CNRP received about 30% and the CPP received slightly above 60%. The upcoming election is the most challenging one since 1993 due to the merger between the SRP and HRP and now becomes a strong opposition.
According to COMFREL, an election watchdog in Cambodia, the upcoming election will be “free, but least fair” in comparison to elections since 1993; because of the absence of Sam Rainsy as opposition leader, unequal access to mass media and state resources, dependent (lack of reform) NEC and other state institutions, political pressure against opposition members etc. which are very much in favor for the ruling party. The good point is that despite all fierce fighting between political parties, there is no election related violence recorded so far. I hope that voter turn out would be better than previous elections and the results could be accepted, though it will be far from perfect or acceptable international standard.
We, Cambodians, prefer to see politicians behave more civilized, become mature, argue to find ways to improve situation of the country and its people, campaign based on policies rather than personal attacks and are able to work together (despite political differences) to build a free and democratic society. We have been suffering more than enough as people and nation.