Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks to Cambodian expatriates in Washington D.C. on May 11. (Hun Sen’s Facebook Page)
Regarding the news article by VOD, “Hun Sen Rules Out Postal Voting for Cambodia During His US Tour”, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s comments twist the reality of overseas voting for the public, as there are plenty of other overseas voting methods that the Committee for Election Right of Overseas Cambodians (CEROC) has advocated for.
We should learn from neighboring countries — Thailand, Philippines and Myanmar alike allow overseas voters to cast ballots in domestic elections, and they do not utilize a postal voting mechanism at all. They set up booths in overseas communities where eligible voters can cast ballots. Embassies have played vital roles to accommodate such facilities in foreign countries, regardless of whether the voters are migrant workers, students, soldiers on mission, government officials, or dual citizens.
Next month, Cambodia will hold elections for its 1,652 communes and sangkats, an event that normally foreshadows the result of the national elections held the following year. The June 5 polls will see about 9.2 million registered voters elect the chief and councilors from among more than 80,000 candidates belonging to 17 political parties.
But barring “genuine efforts toward democratization and political reform” by the the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)-controlled government, the election is likely to fall far short of being “fair, credible, transparent, inclusive, and peaceful,” the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) said in a pre-election analysis of the country’s political landscape and legal framework.
The analysis, based on more than 60 interviews with electoral stakeholders including representatives of civil society groups, political parties, the media, labor unions, academia, the diplomatic community, and international organizations, found that political repression and a restrictive legal framework have narrowed the country’s political space since the last commune elections in 2017.
“Overall, Cambodia still falls short of the standard of democratic elections according to ANFREL’s Dili Indicator for Democratic Elections,” the report concluded. “There will be no genuine and legitimate election outcome as long as threats against the opposition and civic society remain prevalent.”
The reasons adduced by ANFREL include the effective control by the CPP of the National Election Committee and other key state bodies and institutions; the sustained crackdowns on the political opposition, civil society groups, activists, and the independent media; and the CPP’s intimidation of opposition parties seeking to run in the upcoming elections. While the June 5 poll will involve more parties than participated in the last election in 2017, “many opposition candidates and members… continue to experience harassment and intimidation on the ground,” the report found.
Read detail in The Diplomate: https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/cambodia-polls-unlikely-to-be-credible-and-transparent-says-watchdog/
“The workers encourage the government to arrange voting at the embassy [in Bangkok],” Sophen said.
Civil society election observers have previously said that overseas Cambodians should be better enfranchised by creating mechanisms to allow them to participate in elections. Opposition politicians have suggested that the ruling party was dragging its feet because those voters would likely vote against the CPP.
Read details in VOD: https://vodenglish.news/hun-sen-rules-out-postal-voting-for-cambodia-during-his-us-tour/
Cambodia today is a one-party state, a non-democratic, contradictory to the Cambodian National Constitution
Ref: ASEAN-US Summit, 12-13 May 2022
The Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians known as The CEROC, respects and recalls the United States’ foreign policy stance, which is firm in its values of democracy and respect for human rights.
At this ASEAN-US Summit, we firmly believe that the United States can not only put effort for the balance of geopolitical power alone, but also the non-democratic Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam, can certainly ruin the geopolitical efforts of the United States in the region.
Cambodia under the leadership of Hun Sen as the chair of ASEAN this year, has destroyed the values of democracy and human rights as stated in the Cambodian Constitution, a democratic standard like the United States, after the dissolution of the CNRP in 2017, banned the political rights of Cambodian citizens, utilize the judiciary national institution which guarantees the rights and freedoms of the people as their political tools to serve their party interests, shut down independent media, oppress and harass civil society, establish non-independent electoral body, and continue to intimidate Commune/Sangkat candidates from Candle Light Party for the upcoming June 5, 2022 sub-national election.
Therefore, we strongly hope that the United States will continue to educate Hun Sen and his team about the true values of democracy and human rights in a practical and meaningful mechanism. Khmer people always hope and believe in the respect for human rights!