Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monitor numbers to double from ’13

Monitor numbers to double from ’13

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The NEC addresses members at the media at its headquarters on Tuesday. Heng Chivoan

Monitor numbers to double from ’13

With the Wednesday deadline imminent, the National Election Committee (NEC) expects close to 80,000 Cambodians will have registered to observe the July 29 national elections – twice the number who served in the role in 2013.

In an announcement, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said on Tuesday that while the deadline to accept applications hadn’t closed yet, it had so far recognised 72,045 local observers from 107 institutions.

It is also reviewing 6,520 applications from 14 institutions, while the review process hadn’t yet begun for some groups.

Puthea said while experienced poll watchers such as Comfrel, Nicfec and Transparency International chose to sit out the election citing the “political environment” as an excuse, the fact that more observers from many more organisations chose to be a part of the process helps grow democracy in the Kingdom.

It said the applications of 51,506 party agents and 28,275 reserve party agents have been approved, with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) contributing 46,000 combined observers and reserve observers. Only 14 of the other 19 parties challenging the CPP will be deploying monitors.

The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP), founded by leaders of former civil society organisations, will send 371 observers and reserve observers on July 29, while six parties – New Light Party, Khmer Rise Party, Khmer Republican Party, Khmer Anti-Poverty Party, Dharmacracy Party, and Khmer Will Party – will field none.

GDP secretary-general and spokesperson Sam Inn said his party realised there were challenges in recruiting observers because people were apprehensive about retaliation, and the fact the bureaucratic process to register them was difficult.

“However, we have encouraged our supporters to stay at the ballot stations to monitor the counting and get the results. We also will cooperate with other political parties’ agents to share information,” Inn said.

“We have a system to calculate the results by using a sampling method. Our official agents are sufficient to provide information on results for a sample calculation.

“Despite our relatively low number of agents, we still can know the results through sampling and knowing what is happening on election day,” he said.

Comfrel monitoring coordinator Korn Savang said while he supports having more observers for the election, the number alone won’t give any indication about the health of democracy in Cambodia.

“More participation is a good thing for [an election], but it does not mean that the democratisation process is good. We cannot make that conclusion."

“There are many factors such as the free and fair participation of political parties, fair competition, the participation of people without fear [of violence] … These factors combined with an independent media and other factors are needed to be considered a good process,” Savang said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay, when asked about the NEC’s contention that more election observers meant a healthier democratic process, wrote: “It’s more like [the] development towards now defunct … democracy in communist countries.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old