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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CPP mandate ensures no May surprise

CPP mandate ensures no May surprise

At least 11,453 commune council members from five political parties will cast their ballots on May 17 in administrative elections for district, provincial and municipal councils.

But with 7,993 of these voters coming from the ruling Cambodian People's Party, critics complain the results are predetermined by the indirect election process.

Only people currently holding seats on the commune council will be eligible to vote.

This means that while council members from the Cambodian People's Party, Sam Rainsy Party, Funcinpec, Norodom Ranariddh Party and Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party will all be able to take part, the latter four parties constitute only about 30 percent of the vote.

"The elections do not reflect the will of the citizens, and we are not happy with the process. But we have to participate, because it is the law," SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said,  

Tep Nytha, secretary general of the National Election Committee, defended the administrative elections at a press conference explaining the election rule.

"Whether it is a general elections or an indirect election, it is democratic, especially when compared to elections in some other countries," Tep Nytha said. "The elections will allow political parties and civil society to participate."

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) has announced plans to boycott the elections, saying the indirect voting will preclude political change. The result of the elections will forever reflect the commune elections in the previous year.

Unlike Comfrel, Puthea Hang, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee on Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Nicfec), said they will recruit 185 electoral observers for the elections.

"We decided to participate in the upcoming elections because we think having an election at the administrative level is still better than an appointment process," Puthea said.



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