Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cambodian general election, 2013

General elections were held in Cambodia on 28 July 2013.

The National Election Committee (NEC) announced that some 9.67 million Cambodians were eligible to cast their ballots to elect the 123-seat National Assembly.

Incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen is eligible to seek a fourth term. Polling precincts opened 7:00 a.m. and closed at 3:00 p.m. The Cambodian Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith announced in preliminary results that the Cambodian People's Party won 68 seats and the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party won all the remaining 55 seats.

The previous parliamentary elections in 2008 were won by the Cambodian People's Party, which managed to secure an absolute majority of the seats: 90 out of 123. Despite winning a parliamentary majority, the CPP chose to form a coalition with the royalist FUNCINPEC, which won 2 seats. The opposition Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party won a combined total of 29 seats. In 2012, the two parties merged to form the Cambodian National Rescue Party.

 However, party leader Sam Rainsy was barred from running as a candidate because he was not registered to vote.

The voter roll was finalised on 31 December 2012, at which time Rainsy was living abroad after being controversially convicted in 2010 of making changes to a map to suggest the country was losing land to neighbouring Vietnam.

 Rainsy returned to Cambodia in July 2013 after he received a royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni,but Rainsy failed to have his name reinstated on the voter roll and was not eligible for candidacy in the election. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 comment:

  1. Cambodia faces prolonged political paralysis and possibly upheaval unless Prime Minister Hun Sen and a resurgent opposition can reach a compromise over last Sunday's disputed national elections.

    After 28 years of ruthlessly crushing his political opponents, Hun Sen has struck a conciliatory note in response to his party's worst electoral showing in 15 years, saying he would welcome an investigation into allegations of electoral fraud and was prepared to meet opposition leaders.

    But he has never before ceded political ground without a fight, prompting concerns he will lash out following the humiliating result, in which he lost ground even in his home province.

    Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party claims to have won 68 of 123 seats in Parliament in provisional counting; the opposition claims 63 seats, enough for it to have a parliamentary majority in its own right.

    Official results are not expected for a couple of weeks, escalating tensions in the country where a generation of young voters has swung the vote away from Asia's longest-serving leader.

    But Hun Sen has not been delivered a knockout blow. No matter how much the result hurts, he should now seize the opportunity to cut through dead wood at the top of his government, where an ageing elite has kept its corrupt regime in power since 1985.

    Many of them, like Hun Sen, are former members of the murderous Khmer Rouge of the 1970s, including Heng Samrin, who just turned 80, and Chea Sim, who is so ill he has to be carried into meetings.

    Reaching out to the opposition, Hun Sen could offer to bring some of its key leaders in from the wilderness by giving them seats in his cabinet with key portfolios, such as responsibility for rural land.

    Hun Sen will also have to allow an independent investigation into alleged voting irregularities. He has said he welcomes such a probe, but has made clear it should not have United Nations or other international participation. Instead, he has suggested that any investigation be left to the National Election Committee - a pro-CPP partisan organisation.

    The opposition's claims have been supported by several non-partisan Cambodian and foreign groups, but Sam Rainsy's party will need to come up with evidence.

    Only days after returning to Cambodia from exile, a huge weight is on Rainsy's shoulders to avoid bringing his supporters on to the streets, where violence could easily erupt.

    Hun Sen remains firmly in charge of the police and military and has shown in the past he is capable of instigating violence, such as a 1997 putsch that overthrew his then senior coalition partner, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

    Before his recent return from exile to a rapturous welcome in Phnom Penh, Rainsy confided to friends that he believed he had little chance of victory, even as thousands of young people rallied to demand change in the capital.

    Realistically it would be difficult for an inexperienced opposition led by Rainsy, who has had only a brief spell in office, to produce a strategy for a country where the levers of the state and military remain firmly under Hun Sen's control.

    It is critical now that the two enemies give ground so a government can be formed and rekindle the democratic hopes of a new generation of Cambodian voters.

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