Outgoing Australian ambassador Pablo Kang expressed hope that the 7th parliamentary election, scheduled for July 23 this year, will go smoothly with the participation of many political parties.

Kang met with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng at the ministry headquarters on January 9, as he wrapped up his diplomatic mission to the Kingdom.

“I hope the upcoming election will be conducted in a free and fair environment, and will provide an opportunity for all parties to participate freely,” he said.

As head of the Permanent Security Command for Elections, Sar Kheng said the government will make every effort to cooperate with all relevant actors, especially the National Election Committee (NEC), to ensure a violence-free security environment that will allow election work to take place freely at all stages.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida said Cambodian elections have always received praise from local and international observers. They have been recognised as being conducted rightfully, fairly and transparently in an environment of security, safety and good public order, free from violence and intimidation.

He added that the Australian envoy’s remarks were likely based on the NEC’s past achievements, specifically the 5th commune council elections in June last year, in which more than 80 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls with “smiles on their faces”.

“This is one example of the achievements that the NEC has demonstrated to the international community. The confidence of the Australian ambassador validates the work that the NEC has done in the past, as do national and international evaluations of the NEC’s preparations for this year’s election,” said Sorida.

During the courtesy call, Sar Kheng also lauded the excellent cooperation between the two nations.

He noted a number of key activities, including active support for both Cambodia’s suppression of Covid-19 and the government’s decentralisation reforms, law enforcement cooperation between the Cambodian National Police and the Australian Federal Police, and the provision of training to enhance the capacity of the Kingdom’s fight against money laundering and drugs.