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Sar Kheng calls for honest, conscientious national election

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Interior minister Sar Kheng presides over the closing ceremony of the 5th-mandate commune council elections in Preah Sihanouk province on July 7. INTERIOR MINISTRY

Sar Kheng calls for honest, conscientious national election

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has urged all stakeholders in the 2023 national election to conduct it in a conscientious, honest and responsible manner to promote democracy in Cambodia.

The call came at a July 6-7 meeting to review the recent commune council elections. He said the Kingdom is now able to draw on the lessons of 17 sub-national and national elections.

He reminded participants that their conduct was closely related to the dignity and best interests of Cambodia and its people. The commune elections, he said, were held according to the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism, and was strongly contested between the candidates of many parties.

He said the government is committed to making sure that the general election on July 23 next year is free, fair and safe.

“The government and I personally urge everyone involved to remember that we are laying the foundation for continued peace, security and development,” he said.

Cambodian Youth Party secretary-general Chhon Chanthorn, who attended the meeting, told The Post on July 7 that Sar Kheng’s appeal was a good reminder to keep Cambodian democracy strong. But he said this depends on practical enforcement by officials in the future.

“To promote democracy in Cambodia, we are ready to contest the 2023 national election. We will observe the Electoral Law and procedures of the National Election Committee [NEC],” he said.

Sam Sokuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), welcomed the appeal, saying that civil society organisations also want to see elections run smoothly.

He noted that the June 5 commune elections went smoothly and were free from violence. He wanted next year’s election to go as well.

However, he echoed Chanthorn’s comment, saying that Sar Kheng’s appeal alone is not enough. The interior minister, he said, should take practical measures at the grass roots levels because candidate registration and election campaigns on the ground remained problematic.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida said on July 7 that the national election body will continue to honour the spirit of the Constitution and all electoral laws.

He said NEC had played an important role, but at the same time, other stakeholders which participated in the elections had to fulfil their duties as well.


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