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Leader of GDP calls on nations to monitor poll

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Yang Saing Koma, the newly elected president of the Grassroots Democracy Party (GDP), spoke to his members last week. Sreng Meng Srun

Leader of GDP calls on nations to monitor poll

Earlier this week, the newly elected president of the Grassroots Democracy Party (GDP), Yang Saing Koma, appealed to several countries to take part in monitoring the upcoming elections.

Saing Koma, a well-known agriculture expert, said he travelled on Sunday to Bangkok to meet with ambassadors from Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Finland and Norway.

He said he has also met with United Nations officials and ambassadors from Japan, France, Singapore, Sweden and the European Union (EU) in Phnom Penh.

“In total we have met with 12 embassies. They invited us, we did not make any requests to meet them. They wanted to know about the GDP and why we have decided to participate in the election and we explained our party’s vision. They also wanted to know if we had any requests for their governments,” Saing Koma said.

During the meetings, Saing Koma said he had enquired about whether the international community would recognise the election results and if they would send monitors.

“We asked for their opinion and position on the election, and whether they will recognise it. We also asked about sending election observers. We said we want them to observe the election, either directly or indirectly. Directly, they could send election observers and indirectly they can support civil societies in their election monitoring efforts,” he said.

He said a legitimate election should have more independent entities involved in ballot counting and the general election process.

Saing Koma said the ambassadors and embassy officials did not confirm that they would recognise the election results.

“They said they respect and appreciate the will and decision of Cambodians to vote . . . They respect the will of the people, but they would not say if they would recognise the election results,” he said.

Mu Sochua, a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker, said the international community had already made it very clear that “if there is no real opposition, the election will not be viewed as free and fair”.

She was referring to the court-ordered dissolution of the CNRP for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government through a so-called colour revolution aided by the US.

“The EU and the US have already pulled out their funding and support for the National Election Commission,” Sochua said.

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