A Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) official said the process for the upcoming elections is going “smoothly” and predicted that those who had registered to cast their ballots will do so.
He said as it stands, over 80 percent of those who are registered to vote will cast their ballots on July 29, and that the election will be a “success”.
Opposition officials, however, have said they believe that 44 percent of registered voters will not cast their ballots, while election observers said that the actual turnout cannot be assumed or predicted.
Hitting back against election critics, such as former officials of the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), civil society organisations and the US government, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan wrote on social media platform Telegram, on Monday, that everyone who registered will go to vote.
“As their mastermind took the opportunity to sanction a senior Royal Cambodian Government official to undermine the influence of the CPP and mislead the public, and the flies and mosquitoes try to disrupt the political situation, the election process is still going smoothly. I believe more than 84 percent of registered Cambodians will be going to the polls.
“This would mean a successful election,” Eysan wrote, referring to recent sanctions by the US Department of Treasury levelled against the commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit, Hing Bun Heang.
The former deputy president of the CNRP, Mu Sochua, said she expected 44 percent of registered voters will abstain from voting in next month’s elections.
“Voting is a right, and voters must not be forced, intimidated, or threatened. Their choice is clear, and their choice is the main and viable opposition that can compete and win. In a free and safe environment, 44% of the voters will be absent on July 29,” she said in an email.
Preap Kol, the executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said Eysan’s 84 percent voter turnout prediction is “wishful thinking”.
“It is too early to know that. Another interesting fact worth taking note of is whether people feel free to go to vote or to abstain from voting. In such an atmosphere, I predict that the number of invalid ballots will be unusually high in this upcoming election compared to previous ones,” Kol said.
Election expert Yoeurng Sotheara said since the polls haven’t been held yet, we cannot presume or predict the exact percentage of voter turnout.
“We may only predict an approximate based on some hypothetical factors. However, very exact predictions cannot be made. I don’t think voter turnout will increase or go up to 80 percent. I am not able to give a very exact prediction for something that hasn’t happened as yet,” Sotheara said.
He said two important things can influence a high voter turnout – a high satisfaction rate, trust in the system of choosing their representatives, and voluntarily going to vote, like in the Myanmar elections of 2015.