Cambodia election

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 25, 2018

News On The Upcoming Fake Election Of Cambodia And The Election Boycott

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Lee Morgenbesser, an expert on authoritarian regimes, said the elections would “absolutely not” be free and fair, even with the CNRP’s participation.

Janet and LP 6 “The minimum standard requires that all parties and candidates be subject to the same procedures for registering and appearing on the ballot; all campaign and compete on a level playing field; all have equal access to the media; voters be free to vote for their preferred candidates; and official results accurately reflect the votes that were cast,” he explained.

Cambodia has failed to satisfy each of these requirements – and few would be resolved even if the CNRP were revived.


The government has even abandoned symbolic gestures such as Phnom Penh’s “Freedom Park,” established in 2010 to satisfy the country’s Law on Peaceful Demonstrations. The park, which hosted mass protests following the disputed 2013 elections, is supposed to be a designated area for citizens to gather in protest. It was closed down after Hun Sen ordered it to be relocated to the outskirts of the city, around 4 kilometers away from the original park. The relocation seems to violate a clause in the law that requires the park be easily accessible to the public. Today, 10-foot high metal walls have cropped up around the park, blocking access entirely.

The closure of Freedom Park may make little difference, given that Hun Sen has expressed his willingness to kill 100-200 people to maintain stability, and Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak bragged that nobody “dares” to protest.

The forced exclusion of the CNRP has understandably grabbed headlines. But the restrictions on free speech, media, civil society, freedoms of association and assembly, and the possible absence of election observers indicate that even if the CNRP were miraculously resurrected, the Cambodian elections would still be a far cry from free and fair.

Read more the Diplomat…


If passed, the bill must be enacted into law within 180 days, although it is not yet clear when the House will vote on the legislation.

The Cambodia Democracy Act 2018 states that democracy has failed in Cambodia despite “decades of international attention and assistance,” and condemns the deteriorating situation for political rights, civil society and the free press.

The legislation’s co-sponsor, Alan Lowenthal, called the bill a “major step” towards holding Hun Sen and his associates accountable.

“I believe these sanctions will get the attention of the Cambodian government,” Lowenthal said in a statement, stressing that the US and world must act urgently. “I also believe that our action today will encourage other members of the international community to take similar actions and bring additional pressure to bear on Hun Sen.”

Cambodian officials identified as being involved in undermining democracy are already banned from traveling to the US following a December decree from the State Department.

There are now bills in both the US Senate and House that would impose asset freezes, although the Senate bill goes even further by requiring that the US oppose loans to Cambodia from international financial institutions. It also bans any negotiations on the more than US$500 million debt Cambodia owes America dating back to the 1970s.

Cambodian officials’ assets are difficult to track given that asset “declarations” sit in a closed envelope in the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit. Some high-ranking officials like Siphan are dual US-Cambodian citizens.


Rainsy also said Hun Sen “is holding his people hostage and blackmailing donor nations” by flaunting the negative effects sanctions would have on average Cambodians.

“I am calling on the Cambodian people to be prepared for some additional hardship in our current fight for a democratic and peaceful change,” he said. “As in any battle for a just cause, a short-term sacrifice may be required to secure a better future.”

While the US hasn’t threatened the garment industry specifically, officials have warned that further action is on the cards.

Sophal foresees more sanctions coming after the July elections, which he doesn’t expect the US to recognize as free, fair or legitimate. “It’s clear as day the US will reject the results of the election and I expect more sanctions as Cambodian democracy is not only undermined but completely gutted.”

Read more on Asia Times…


Voters and abstainers

Rather than a competition between the CPP and another party, the election is shaping up to be a competition between voters and abstainers. With the CPP all-but-guaranteed a win, it is voter turnout that counts. As Cambodian political analyst Meas Nee points out, the CPP’s concern is no longer winning the election, but maintaining legitimacy and “minimum recognition” from the international community.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: February 24, 2017

Australia silent as Cambodia’s Hun Sen deals final blow to democracy

Australia silent as Cambodia’s Hun Sen deals final blow to democracy

By Lindsay Murdoch

Comment: 22 February 2017

Op-Ed: TheAge.Com

Prime Minister Hun Sen has remained in power beyond the time of any of the world’s democratic leaders through use of politically motivated violence, control of security forces and the courts, and massive corruption.

Still to this day, I am haunted by the image of a pretty young girl sitting in shock amid the blood and debris of a grenade attack on an anti-government rally in a park across from the Royal Palace on March 30, 1997, in which 16 people were killed and 120 injured.

Bangkok: Twenty per cent of Cambodians live in poverty. Forty-two per cent of children under five years old are malnourished and stunted. More than half of Cambodians lack access to toilets and sanitation.

For three decades Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia with the tacit backing of foreign countries sympathetic to the leader of a nation emerging from genocide and civil war.

Australia has long being at the forefront of a donor-nation generosity that has seen billions of dollars pour in to help Cambodia’s 16 million people.

Since 2014 in particular Australia has showered diplomatic praise and an additional $40 million on Hun Sen and his ministers in return for Cambodia accepting what has turned out to be only a handful of refugees from Nauru.

Canberra is sending $90 million of taxpayers’ money to the country this financial year alone to contribute to what the Department of Foreign Affairs claims will be the country’s “greater prosperity”.

But the reality is very different.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has remained in power beyond the time of any of the world’s democratic leaders through use of politically motivated violence, control of security forces and the courts, and massive corruption.

Still to this day, I am haunted by the image of a pretty young girl sitting in shock amid the blood and debris of a grenade attack on an anti-government rally in a park across from the Royal Palace on March 30, 1997, in which 16 people were killed and 120 injured.

The girl was smiling, unaware of the calamity around her.

I looked down and saw she had no legs. She died on the way to hospital.

The level of corruption in the country that Australia’s Coalition government has made one of its closet allies in Asia – for political gain at home – is staggering.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: February 23, 2017

The amendment of law on political parties is unconstitutional

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 99

This part (99), Mr. Sophan analysed two outstanding issues happening in Cambodia i.e. the resignation of Sam Rainsy from CNRP and the amendment of political parties law by the order of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Law on Political Parties Rejection Sam Rainsy’s resignation happened amid attempt to dissolve Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) through law amending of political party crafted in 1998. The amending was carried out by the law-makers from CPP solely after Hun Sen stated in his speech during a session of parliamentary meeting. That session was succeeded in dissolving majority and minority mechanism in the parliament strengthened parliamentary institution. In his speech as the law was amended clearly showed that a political party could be easily dissolved if 1. President is found guilty in a convicted crime, 2. Vice President is found guilty in a convicted crime, 3. Permanent member is found in a convicted crime, 4. Committee member is found in a convicted crime, 5. Party is found in secession activity, incitement, or threat to national security, and 6. Party is found receiving fund or financial support from foreigner etc. The definition of the new amended law is very vague and could be easily interpreted by the powerful to fit their desire. More than this, high court is not only responsible to judge the case, the Ministry of Interior has leverage to bring case to the court as well as to conduct its task directly. Sam Rainsy resigned earliest to save his party from dissolving. Sam Rainsy has been convicted in the defamation lawsuit and the court convicted him to criminal jailing and huge compensation to the plaintiff.

For the amended law on political parties, it has been vastly condemned by national and international community. This law is a preemptive tactic Hun Sen is undergoing to ensure the vast loss of popularity of his leadership. It has amended in just few months before the commune election in June 4, 2017 and the national election in 2018.

“This day will be remembered for the triumph of dictatorship over the dream of the Paris Peace Accords for a rights respecting, multi-party democracy,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “It’s no exaggeration that these amendments are like a gun aimed straight at the heart of the opposition party, leaving only the question of when and on what grounds this political execution will take place,”

Read this link for this new amended law drafting in Khmer and in English

Posted by: | Posted on: February 15, 2017

Sam Rainsy’s Resignation from Party’s President signified a new chapter of Cambodia politics

Political Analysis

The most popular news during these few days is the resignation of Sam Rainsy from Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)’s Presidency and membership. There are many views on pros and cons of his journey. Cambodian people in general are missing him so much for this decision-making but their love and attachment towards his heroic determination has been surprisingly increasing.

Sam Rainsy resign Actually, Sam Rainsy announced his resignation from party’s Presidency of CNRP this February 11, 2017 is to intentionally save his party from dissolving attempted by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hun Sen had repeatedly warned on amending the political party law to ban convicted individuals from entering top leadership of the party as well as to dissolve the party from such convicted degree if found. Strategically, Sam Rainsy stepped ahead of Hun Sen’s authoritarianism and narcissism for the upcoming elections i.e. commune election 2017 and national election 2018. Sam Rainsy has been convicted by a defamation lawsuit against him and there are many lawsuits in row to trial him. Every Cambodian knows that those charges are politically motivated.

Academics and observers see Hun Sen’s non-stopped obsession to divide and weaken CNRP as a preemptive tactic before the election and its predictable outcome. This activity has surpassed all efforts of reform and it is truly destroying those reform goodness. Jailing NGO’s staff members including secretary of the National Election Committee (NEC), Ny Charia, is seen as an attempt to tame the election body, and this latest effort to outlaw the strongest opposition party CNRP is seen as to weaken his opponent before allowing them to enter the ring. Want it or not, Sam Rainsy has laid out inclusive policy by advocating to include Cambodians overseas especially those millions of migrant workers to be able to vote in Cambodia elections in which contradicting to Hun Sen who has advocated to exclude them.

Let the Cambodia earth witness for the Sam RainsyBeside of personal integrity, honesty, sacrifice and genuine patriotism for his nation, Sam Rainsy is vivid and intellectual in handling political truces with Hun Sen. With his over 27 years experience in political leadership as opposition party particularly competing with Hun Sen, his effort yielded in 2013 as the government effort to disqualify him from political leadership has impregnably backfired Hun Sen. Evidently, sea of people gathered in tsunamic-like crowd to welcome him back home at the airport few days before the election campaign in 2013, was a historic momentum.

Some people explain the disadvantage of his stepping back by resigning from president duty as irresponsible leadership. In fact, his regression is paralleling to that of George Washington of America as history tells that the founding father sacrificed power in order to respect crafted national constitution of limiting President power to two mandates. Saying this, Sam Rainsy has shown first role model to all Cambodian people in accepting to give up power when appropriate time has come in order to maximize the collective interests of major citizens. Many people tried to explain that Sam Rainsy’s popularity is not be comparable to that Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand which this is wrong because Sam Rainsy has never earned his popularity from populist policy or harbouring it from any powerful position.

From this moment, Sam Rainsy will be an icon of change and idealistic pragmatism in Cambodia. His political career is not yet ended. When Cambodian people especially younger voters are still supportive of his last decades struggle, his future political achievement is not a dream any more.

Note that the controversial proposal to amend the political party law aiming to dissolve CNRP is attached here. According to the Phnom Penh Post, the drafting is added beyond what Hun Sen ordered in the Assembly because if this law is ratified in this February 20 by the law-makers from CPP, it will adjudicate to ban convicted individuals from party’s leadership such as president, vice president, permanent members, and committee members, to dissolve a party which is not only by the power of higher court but by the Ministry of Interior, the so-called threat to national security is very loose as incitement and defamation have been used to link to colour revolution by the powerful,  and provision on foreign funding is loosely defined as it could be interpreted to all funding from Cambodians overseas.

Posted by: | Posted on: February 14, 2017

Hun Sen is believing in dividing Khmers to galvanize his power

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 98

This part (98), Mr. Sophan analysed on the continual oppression of Hun Sen’s political leadership towards his main opponent CNRP. Hun Sen has failed to reform as he promised in post-election 2013 by utilizing his self-bragging expertise of political leadership to garner “divide and conquer” towards his strongest opponent.

Courtesy: Makara Thai

Courtesy: Makara Thai

At the assembly meeting participated by CPP law-makers only, Hun Sen ranted out loud to demolish majority and minority voice in the Assembly. He spent over 15 minutes of internal regulation to over 40 minutes to include in his plan to amend the political party law aiming to get rid of convicted citizen(s) from party’s leadership, to dissolve party, and to imitate Thailand’s style of military coup detat. The statement to amend law in order to weaken his opponent happened in a surprise as everlasting demanding to amend law on political party on financial management and limiting public servants from involving with political party as well as be enforced by political party, was totally disregarded by Hun Sen during those 40 minutes speech.

The political behaviour exposed by Hun Sen is comparing like human body that has infected by viruses internally and Hun Sen has missed routine checkup by using “rule of law” in democratic way to diagnose and schedule treatment to ensure this body is healthy. Hun Sen is fearful of his internal ringleaders more than external enemies. More often, Hun Sen is not valuing the importance of free and fair election which is comparing like the effective medication plan or doctor orders to heal the viruses.

In conclusion, Mr. Sophan predicted on intend that Hun Sen has been playing is to tame the national election committee (NEC) to favor his party, and to ensure his victory, by either shutting down the NEC or the NEC agreed to declare his victory without waiting time for him to boycott the loss result. Reminding 2013 as an example, the result of election was not declared by the NEC; the result of election was declared by the Minister of Information.

Posted by: | Posted on: November 29, 2016

Comparative Study of Election System of Cambodia and the United States

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 86

This part (86), Mr. Sophan described some pros and cons of electoral system of USA while this system is better off comparing to the existing system of Cambodia. With its complex election system employing “winner take all”, “electoral college”, and “autonomy of election body in each state” etc. have led to deepening attempt to understand this system.

us-electoral-college Researchers and academics agreed on this system as a not-genuine-democratic election. Those have believed in hybrid democracy than pure democracy. The United States is well-known for its leading example of democracy, but their election system doesn’t translate pure democracy. The system has truly accommodated a politics of pragmatism and necessity. Each state has its own electors (representatives) limited in numbers by the federal government (constitution?) although it is not logical as some states have more population but minimal in numbers of electors while other states less population but maximal in numbers of electors. For instance, California comprises of population over 38 million or 38,332,521 residents with 55 electors or we could approximate 696,954 for per elector, while Wyoming has about 582,658 residents with 3 electors or we could approximate only 194,219 for per elector. The “electoral college” and “winner-take-all” don’t help to symbolize a representative of direct voters (citizens) at all. Or academics call it a proportional election system of indirect democracy (sic).

Hence, if we try to compare election system of the United States with Cambodia, we can see many flaws Cambodia election system is not comparable with.

  • Independence of Election Committee of the United States is truly independent as their court is independent and just. This independence indicator is puzzling to see how Cambodia National Election Committee is facing pressure while the court is under government’s upper-hand.
  • Financial Control Laws on Political Parties of the United States are very rigid. Each presidential candidate can raise funds to boost their campaign as such fundraising activities must comply with the laws. This financial control is imperative to ensure “level playing field” in the United States. This scenario is in contrast in Cambodia in which the government-led party has enjoyed free ride of using money to run their political activities while the opposition party is financed by donation in kind from members and using major personal expenses to cover up the ride.