The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won all votes in Kampot province’s Bokor town council election on July 25, after the town was established by a sub-decree in March, according to the National Election Committee’s (NEC) preliminary election results.

The CPP won 17 out of 17 votes, while the other three parties contesting the election – Cambodian Nationality Party (CNP), Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) and Funcinpec– received none.

In a press statement on July 25, NEC said voting was for the 17 council members of Boeung Touk, Koh Touch and Prek Tnort communes. Voting booths opened at 7am and closed later in the morning after all ballot papers had been cast.

After voting centres closed, the polling station commission tallied the ballots. The election was monitored by political party agents, election observers and journalists to ensure accuracy and transparency. No ballot papers were invalid.

NEC said the election process proceeded smoothly and in accordance with the law, regulations and procedures, working calendar and standard letters. Election officials also implemented Covid-19 preventative measures at all polling stations.

NEC deputy secretary-general Som Sorida told The Post that if there were no objections, NEC will announce the results soon.

“It’s equal to the election result. The Kampot provincial election committee will summarise the result. When it is announced, the political parties that contested this election have the right to object,” he said.

But according to Sorida, no party contested the preliminary election results when they were announced on July 25.

“So far no political party has objected to the results. If there is still no objection and the deadline for filing a complaint passes, the NEC will officially announce the result,” he said.

According to Sorida, the elected councillors will choose 13 members to lead Bokor town.

CNP president Seng Sokheng said his party would not appeal the election result, noting that the election was conducted in accordance with the law.

“My party participated in the election campaign. We saw that there were no irregularities as the election was properly organised. Winning and losing is normal in a democratic society and I have no plans to object to the result,” he said.

Likewise, CYP president Pich Sros said: “It is not strange when the CPP gained 17 seats because voters are from the CPP. So if they belong to the CPP and turned out to vote for other political parties, it would be strange.”

Korn Savong, the monitoring and advocacy coordinator for election watchdog Comfrel, said although other political parties took part in the election, the CPP’s overwhelming vote was because voters were from the ruling party.

“In my view, this is a non-general electoral system. If we want the election to be fair, it should follow the standards of commune or national elections. It means that the law needs to be amended for this council election to be like a general election by allowing the participation of citizens,” Savong said.