Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Senate elections: a test of consistency and firmness



Senate elections: a test of consistency and firmness

Senators at a session in November. Facebook
Senators at a session in November. Facebook

Senate elections: a test of consistency and firmness

Editor,
Cambodia’s Senate election is to be held on February 25.

According to the Constitution, out of the 61 senators, two are to be nominated by the King, two to be chosen by the National Assembly and the remaining 57 must be elected essentially by a college of commune councillors who are themselves elected through universal suffrage at local elections.

The problem with the new Senate to be formed next Sunday revolves around the legal status of 5,007 CPP-affiliated commune councillors out of a total of 11,572 (43 percent) who are called to participate in the vote even though they have never been elected through universal suffrage: those 5,007 councillors affiliated with the ruling party were actually “given” their seats which originally belonged to 5,007 councillors affiliated with the opposition CNRP, who were duly elected at the June 4 commune elections. The seat “redistribution” immediately followed the much-decried dissolution of the CNRP on November 16.

If the Senate election is to proceed the way the CPP-led government plans it, the consequences will be as follows:

• The will of 3.05 million Cambodian citizens (representing 43.8 percent of the electorate) who voted for the CNRP at the last local elections, will be totally ignored.

• With its 5,007 elected councillors being stripped of their positions and their rights to elect senators, the CNRP will be deprived of up to 25 senator positions (out of the 57 up for grab) it is entitled to.

• By expediently and timely dissolving the CNRP and “redistributing” to itself the 5,007 commune councillor positions originally won by the opposition CNRP through universal suffrage, the ruling CPP will secure 100 percent of the 57 senator seats up for grab, which concretely announces the return to a one-party system as before the signing of the 1991 Paris Agreements on Cambodia.

The world community of democratic nations must denounce and condemn such an electoral farce, which is to be followed by another one: the legislative election due to take place on July 29 this year.

This is an important test of consistency and firmness for the international community. Those who will condone Cambodia’s February 25 Senate election are likely to condone the July 29 legislative election which is going to take place without the participation of the CNRP as the only parliamentary opposition party representing half the nation. But those who uphold democratic rules and principles will condemn both polls as undemocratic and the ensuing government as illegitimate.

Sam Rainsy
President of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement and former president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party

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

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • 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

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • 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.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in