Search

Search form

Breaking: European Union suspends Cambodian election support

Members of the National Election Committee meet with representatives of Japan, the US and the European Union last month in Phnom Penh.
Members of the National Election Committee meet with representatives of Japan, the US and the European Union last month in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Breaking: European Union suspends Cambodian election support

The European Union announced today that it is suspending all support for Cambodia’s National Election Committee, calling credible elections impossible in the current climate.

In a letter to the chairman of the NEC, Sik Bun Hok, EU Ambassador George Edgar cites the government’s recent crackdown on the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party – dissolved by the Supreme Court last month – as the reason for the suspension.

Since the commune elections, he writes, “a series of actions has been taken by the authorities against the main opposition party, which won 44.5% of the vote in the 2013 legislative election and 43.8% in the 2017 local elections”.

“The dissolution of the CNRP also means that it will not be able to run in the National Assembly elections in 2018. An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be seen as legitimate,” the letter reads. “Under these circumstances, the European Union does not believe there is a possibility of a credible electoral process.”

The EU pledged €10 million to support the NEC for the 2017 local and 2018 national elections. It is unclear how much of that money remains to be disbursed, but Ambassador Edgar in an interview last week said that a large part had already been spent on equipment.

With this move, the EU becomes the second international partner to suspend its assistance for the NEC following the United States’ end of support last month.

Som Sorida, NEC deputy secretary-general, criticised the EU’s decision to link politics to NEC funding, though he insisted the election body would still be able to do its work as planned.

“NEC is ready to organise the next election,” he said, adding that Japan, China, South Korea and Russia would continue to support it.

Updates to follow.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all