Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Senate polls open across country as NEC head defends election legitimacy



Senate polls open across country as NEC head defends election legitimacy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen casts his ballot in this morning's Senate elections, where his party is expected to sweep the upper house. Tep Sony

Senate polls open across country as NEC head defends election legitimacy

A four-way contest to capture seats in Cambodia’s Senate kicked off this morning, with commune councillors and National Assembly members across the country voting in what is expected to be a clean sweep at the polls for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

The election for Cambodia's upper house comes three months after the country’s most credible opposition group, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was dissolved by the Supreme Court for allegedly plotting a "revolution" following the arrest of its leader Kem Sokha in September.

Councillors lined up this morning outside polling booths, occasionally making way for sick and elderly commune officials – one of whom was brought in an ambulance – to cast their ballot for one of four parties contesting the elections: the Khmer National United Party, Funcinpec, Cambodian Youth Party and the CPP.

Prime Minister Hun Sen voted in his constituency of Kandal this morning, while National Assembly president Heng Samrin went to Kampong Cham to place his ballot. The 62-member Senate will see 58 members selected during today's election, with two more appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni and two voted in by parliament.

National Election Committee Chairman Sik Bun Hok inspected voting at a Phnom Penh polling centre, saying balloting was so far going smoothly across the country, with no reports of irregularities.

He strongly defended the poll against concerns raised by foreign governments and observers over the legitimacy of the elections, saying Japan and China were continuing their support for Cambodian elections.

“I already said the two important things for an election is it needs to be independent and neutral to ensure it will be free, fair and just,” he said. “This election is based on the law created by the National Assembly and not from the United States or the European Union.”

The Cambodia National Rescue Party, which last year saw all its council and parliamentary seats distributed among other parties, released a statement yesterday calling on the United Nations and international community to label today’s ballot as “unconstitutional” and “undemocratic”.

“We are alarmed by the prospects for further destabilisation of the country and the region as the people of Cambodia will not accept a full dictatorship and one-party rule,” the statement reads.

Sok Nary, the ruling party’s first deputy chief from Chroy Changvar commune, said the absence of the CNRP and any strong opponent for these elections has become the new “normal”.

“I wanted the CNRP to join the election to show democracy in our country. I regret that the CNRP was dissolved,” she said, adding that she was confident the CPP will get a majority in the Senate.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman