Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Obama clinches mock poll

Obama clinches mock poll

Obama clinches mock poll

4-story-105.jpg
4-story-105.jpg

Pannasastra University students throw their weight behind Barack Obama,

delivering him a landslide victory in this year's mock US election

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

Pannasastra University's Ray Leos sits with ballot boxes at the Norodom Boulevard campus. 

FAR from the chaos of Washington, DC, students at a small university on the other side of the world have voted for Obama in a mock election held to raise public awareness of the American electoral process and what the US presidential choice means for Cambodia.

At Pannasastra University's mock election, held Tuesday in the campus library, Democratic candidate Barack Obama was victorious with 292 votes over Republican John McCain, who won 75.

Cann Sothet, 22, a student of international relations, offered his explanation for Obama's popularity among the student population: "I think most people at the university support Obama because they think he is interested in other countries and that he can understand them".

"McCain has the unfortunate pressure of being associated with the Bush administration, which is hugely unpopular," he added.

The mock election was organised by the US Embassy, which sponsors a corner of Pannasastra's library, providing copies of magazines, including Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and the satellite news channels CNN and Bloomberg.

Ray Leos, a professor of media and communications at Pannasastra, helped to organise the event. "It was an opportunity for students to learn more about world affairs, which is vitally important in this age of globalisation," he said. "The election will have, in some way, an effect on Cambodia."

It is becoming clear to students that america’s choice does matter.

Librarian Sok Vanna, who took part in the ballot counting, thought the event was a good opportunity for students to exercise their right to vote.

"This was a vote of the heart, as students were not obliged to cast their ballots," she said.
She added that many students in the university are excited about the election and that it is being widely discussed, especially in light of news that the financial crisis is beginning to impact Cambodia. It is becoming clear to students that America's choice does matter, Sok Vanna said.

American professors explained the significance of "battleground states", the impact of party finances on the campaigning process, and some of the major differences between American and Cambodian elections.

Students were given the choice to vote for either Obama or McCain,  but not for minor candidates. Leos said he was disappointed by their exclusion and has voiced a complaint to the US Embassy.

But embassy spokesman John Johnson said the minor candidates were excluded for simplicity's sake, adding that most Cambodians only knew about Obama and McCain.

"We run mock elections every election as a way to inform people about America and the process of participatory democracy," he said.

"It's very interesting that students voted so overwhelmingly for Obama, I look forward to talking to some of them after the election."

Students will gather today from 7:30am onwards in the university library to watch the election results with their professors.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty