Election fever is almost out, Reflection is in
A lot has been written on recent national elections in Cambodia, on 28 July 2013. The controversial preliminary results announced by NEC on 31 July have shown that CPP won, but lose the two-third majority in the Parliament. I have spent the whole day to vote, to cycle around in order to observe many voting stations in Phnom Penh, to observe the counting process, to follow up the first announcement on TV and to reflect on the possible outcomes. In general, I am disappointed but happy with the whole elections process. Elections alone are not to bring real democracy to a nation; it is however an important step towards that direction.
What was the difference comparing to the last four national elections since 1993, just in very short version:
- The whole process went peacefully, though we might have seen some minor incidents here and there. Nobody died.
- Overwhelming participation of the youth; during campaigns, election and afterwards.
- Voters turnout was officially 69%, lower than before. But if everybody could cast their votes, their names were not intentionally deleted etc, I would say at least 80-85% turnout.
- The power of money loses to the “will power”.
- Scars tactics did not work.
- Most people understood the process and voted according to their will.
- Liar could not win against the truth.
- Politicians from both parties, CNRP and CPP, become more mature.
- Dialogue is in, confrontation is out.
- People are standing up for their rights, but behave responsibly.
- Power of social communication networks over traditional media.
- The wind of change has arrived.
Below are my three own examples for consideration:
Example 1: I have spent time in my voting stations to observe election and counting process. We have 23 polling stations in the Tuol Kork primary school compound. In all the stations, CNRP won by far. In my station # 447 (524 voters on the list, but only 202 ballots in the box, 38.54%): CNRP got 112, CPP: 80, Funcinpec: 2, LDP: 2 and party #6 got 2 votes, invalid ballots: 4. In station # 1271 (567 voters on the list, but 450 ballots in the box, 79.36%), where my two sons voted: CNRP received 244, CPP: 182, Funcinpec: 9 and LDP: 5, invalid ballots: 10. This indicated that people would like to see change.
Example 2: After leaving the voting station, we have met among friends to follow up the results from different sources. We received only good news for CNRP. We tried to see the results shown by TVs and radios, but nothing, except music, music…In the last commune elections in 2012; they aired the results live from polling stations after three o’clock. At 5 pm, they announced the preliminary results already (because they were so sure that they would win). But, on election day they waited till 08:30 pm to announce the first results on state owned TVK, commune by commune, starting from Pailin and Pursat, where they would win. It was followed by results in Phnom Penh that shown mainly CNRP have won. Suddenly, the announcement was cut and replaced by music for about thirty minutes. Then, it turned out to be results from province, by province showing that CPP has won. It is very unusual and caused big doubts among us and all Cambodians.
Example 3: My two sons (19 and 20) were very active in this election. They have spent their own money, own motorbikes, own time, own energy, own ideas to prepare for campaigns with their team members,… everyday from the morning till late night. They have voted for “Change” and would like to see better development for this country. Though, we have never talked about politics at home, their political participation surpassed by far my expectation from the youth.
Our heroic Cambodian people are really the winners of this election.