The Japanese government has signed an agreement to provide $69,333 to the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL). The grant, which comes from the KUSANONE small-scale human security project, will support the NGO’s work as observers at the upcoming parliamentary election.

The agreement was signed on May 10 by Japanese ambassador Atsushi Ueno and COMFREL executive director Kim Chhorn.

Through this project, guidebooks and uniforms will be provided to 10,241 short-term election observers who will be deployed throughout the Kingdom during the July election.

“We expect this project to contribute to ensuring free and fair elections that respect the will of all voters. The Japanese government pays close attention to supporting elections, which are fundamental to democracy,” Ueno said, noting that Japan has supported the Kingdom’s democratic development since the early 1990’s

He added that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is currently assisting the National Election Committee (NEC) with an election awareness campaign which provides on-site training at schools and other locations.

“The Japanese government has supported COMFREL since the 2nd-mandate commune council elections in 2002. We believe they have contributed to raising awareness of the electoral process,” he said.

COMFREL representative Yang Kim Eng said the Japanese contribution will help restore voter confidence and strengthen the participation of civil society organisations in the elections.

“COMFREL plans to train and deploy between 25 and 75 observers to monitor the pre- and post-election phases,” he said.

“Another 200 observers will conduct interviews in the pre- and post-election environments to collect feedback and evaluate public opinion. At least 10,000 short-term observers will observe the election and count the ballots,” he added.

He expressed the organisation’s gratitude to Japan for its support.