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Few voters ever meet their local MPs: report

A NEW report by the election watchdog group COMFREL says that less than 4 percent of Cambodian voters have any direct contact with their local parliamentarians.

The report, issued Tuesday during a workshop in Phnom Penh, found that of 8,678 voters surveyed, only 3.5 percent had directly communicated with their representatives.

Koul Panha, executive director of COMFREL, cited enormous workloads placed on politicians and a failure by political parties to communicate effectively with voters as the chief obstacles to a closer relationship between parliamentarians and their constituents.

Political parties “fail to introduce their parliamentarians to residents, and residents are not able to contact their offices”, Koul Panha said.

Mu Sochua, a Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker representing Kampot, said she regretted not being able to spend more time with voters, but that she makes every effort to stay abreast of events in the community she represents.

“It is difficult to help people in my electorate, as I am the only opposition parliamentarian in my district, while there are five parliamentarians from the government,” she said.

The COMFREL report also found that those surveyed held strong opinions about the involvement of women in politics. Some 71.5 percent of respondents said that there should be a certain proportion of seats in parliament reserved for women, though almost two-thirds of respondents were women.

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