One week after Election Day, there remains little certainty in regards to the future. Though final results still haven’t been released, both parties appear to be digging in their heels, and each tentative step toward unity has been met with two steps back. For many Cambodians, it has been a tense week. Around the capital yesterday, calls for a swift resolution were common, but so too were urgings that the opposition resist a coalition. The Post spoke with Phnom Penh’s residents and workers about their thoughts on the electoral process and their hopes for the coming days.
Chea Somaly, 20, student and Election Day poll worker
Even though I worked for the NEC, I saw ink being washed off by voters bringing bleach to wash their hands after voting – though they didn’t vote again. I saw with my own eyes problems caused by allowing outsiders to vote at the Stung Meanchey polling station.
All of the problems should have been solved peacefully. Despite the issues, I still say the election was run transparently even if it wasn’t standard.
One thing I want to see in the next election is the NEC ensuring no outsiders are allowed to vote so the election will be more transparent.
Sorm Chan, 36, tuk-tuk driver from Kandal province
Despite the opposition party winning 55 seats, I don’t want the opposition to join with the current party because then it won’t be an opposition party anymore.
Dissent against the ruling party is important. Keeping the opposition party separate is positive because they help people criticise government corruption and immigration, problems the government must solve and take seriously.
People today see partisan corruption and unequal power dynamics between the rich and poor. I don’t like it, and neither does the rest of the country. The government needs to address these issues.
Sok Malin, 42, private security guard
We are all monitoring the news and have heard the opposition is planning to hold mass demonstrations protesting against the election results.
I guess clashes could occur in the same way they did in 1997. Myself and others, especially the business community, don’t want a repeat of events or army mobilisation. Nobody wants rising commodity prices that will lead to instability.
I think in this situation, the UN should be involved in negotiations. If the UN is not allowed, the NEC will be the sole decision-making body, which is unacceptable because of their party affiliation.
Sorm Daro, 33, staffer at private company
I don’t care what party wins the election. What is important is that whoever leads this country must help this country develop further, regardless of their party.
I think our leadership could very well change in the future. The election shows how many people support the opposition party, pointing to possible changes to the country’s leadership in the future.
The opposition could in theory gain more and more support. I think this election shows that people are willing to change leaders in order to solve problems like corruption in our government and how it impacts society.
Sot Ghon, 30, monk at Wat Ounalom
I’m not worried about any of the events happening after the elections. But people were definitely fearful when they saw armed forces and roadblocks in Phnom Penh.
A committee investigating election irregularities must form as soon as possible and must be free of NEC control.
Both parties must figure out a way to solve this problem with the country’s national interests in mind.
I do support demonstrating against the election results as long as they remain peaceful.