March, 2016

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Posted by: | Posted on: March 13, 2016

Cambodian overseas absentee voting viewed by PM Hun Sen and HE Sam Rainsy

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 55

This part (55), Mr. Sophan Seng articulated on the CEROC or Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians on recent news of Prime Minister Hun Sen and H.E. Sam Rainsy regarding Cambodians overseas absentee voting.

aroundtheworldPM Hun Sen used the excuse of not allowing Cambodians overseas to vote in Cambodia elections because of election system in Cambodia is proportional representation which is different from USA, and he continued to comment on different time such daytime in Cambodia is nighttime in America. With this matter, Mr. Sophan described that it is just a small piece of technical issues that they are not complicate to resolve. Thailand has operated proportional representation, and their overseas voters casted ballots to vote with no problem at all. Thailand has no problem of allocating them, or jurisdiction, or residency at all when overseas citizens registered to vote. To avoid conflicting time of night and day, and especially to avoid pressure on voter, they have arranged “advance vote” by giving more time to both domestic voters and overseas absentee voters to caste their ballots.

Regarding letter to the Phnom Penh Post by H.E. Sam Rainsy, Mr. Sophan described that it depends on how the election committee agrees to solve such technical issue. It is not beyond the ability and capacity to solve the issues whenever Cambodian overseas absentee ballots and voting are counted and facilitated.

Posted by: | Posted on: March 5, 2016

From Post-Conflict Reconstruction to Economic Transformation

From Post-Conflict Reconstruction to Economic Transformation


Caroline HughesGiven that Cambodia has left behind its post-conflict status, how should we characterize the current period of continuing change? In this study, we coin the term “economic transformation” to describe the current context. This economic transformation represents a visible change in the level and nature of economic activities from the 1990s to the 2000s. Although a slowdown is expected as a result of the global financial crisis, and may limit or reverse some of the political implications of economic success, it will not erase the transformations wrought over the past five years. Some statistics give an indication of the empirical dimensions of this transformation. The economy has grown at an average of almost ten per cent per year over the past five years.

The value of exports has tripled, while the flow of foreign direct investment has increased 12-fold since 2004. Poverty has fallen and human development indicators have improved. At the same time, according to the World Food and Agriculture Organization, Cambodia lost almost a third of its primary tropical forests between 2000 and 2005,13 and severe inequality has emerged and is growing, especially in terms of landholdings. A recent estimate by the Land Coalition put the proportion of landless people at 20 per cent of the rural population, and the proportion of land-poor people at 25 per cent. This is a figure that is considered to be rising, in view of the rash of forced evictions from disputed land that have taken place over the past three or four years.

To date, studies of Cambodia’s economic trajectory have been largely confined to analyses by the international financial institutions (IFIs) that engage with Cambodia as “development partners,” or by research institutes focused on the specifics of particular industries or indicators. There is broad agreement within these studies as to the nature of the economic transformation that has occurred, and its limitations. For example, there is widespread agreement that while economic growth in Cambodia has been high, it has been narrowly based. Over the period from 1996 to 2006, the economy as a whole grew by an average of 8.7 per cent per year. Disaggregated by sector, the picture looks less promising. Manufacturing grew by 18.1 per cent per year over this period: within the manufacturing sector, garment production grew by 34 per cent. Construction grew by 12 per cent. These industries are confined to a small geographical area: particularly the area around Phnom Penh and Tak Khmau, and the corridor along National Route 4 to the main port of Sihanoukville. However, the garment industry in particular has proved flexible and relatively durable in response to changes in the nature of the global trading regime of which it is a part. The industry survived the end of the Multi-Fibre Agreement which guaranteed Cambodian exporters privileged access to US markets, and brokered a new deal which claimed a niche for Cambodian garments on the basis of their “ethically produced” status. The extent to which the ethical claims made are real is debatable, but the strategy worked, up until 2008, in securing markets for Cambodian goods.

Services performed well, growing at an average of 8.5 per cent, a performance particularly boosted by the 12.5 per cent growth in the tourism sector which saw the number of tourists increase from 289,524 in 1998 to 2,015,128 in 2007. Again, tourism is narrowly concentrated in the town of Siem Reap, gateway to the ancient Angkor temple complex, and a recent study has found that tourism has little effect on poverty reduction in Cambodia, since revenues do not reach the poor. Across the rest of the country, although agriculture remains the main occupation of 55 per cent of the population, it grew only slowly over this period, at less than 5 per cent per year, and some of this growth was driven by the expansion of the sub-sector of industrial agriculture, which grew by 10 per cent per year The subsistence agriculture sector upon which the rural population largely depends remained poor. Consequently, the numbers of people leaving the land altogether and making a living in manufacturing or service industries increased sharply. The percentage of the (expanding) labour force employed in industry and services increased from 4 to 12 per cent and 20 to 25 per cent respectively between 1994 and 2004.

Read the entire text of Cambodia Economic Transformation in pdf file

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2016

Briefing on the meeting with NEC’s officials on 19 March 2016

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 54

This part (54), Mr. Sophan Seng elaborated about the meeting with NEC’s officials on February 19, 2016. Mr. Sophan Seng who is the leader of the CEROC, was honored to meeting H.E.Kuoy Bunroeun, Deputy of NEC at the head office to discuss the right to vote of Cambodians overseas.

DSC_1276The meeting was anticipated by two permanent members and two deputy secretaries of the current NEC. The discussion is summarized following:

Mr. Sophan Seng highly valued the new NEC that is better and more independent than before including the high expectation of its performance for this upcoming commune election 2017 and national election 2018. Precisely, he addressed the need to allow and facilitate access for Cambodians overseas to vote in Cambodia elections (inclusiveness). The CEROC’s objectives are: – to organize suggestions, petitions, and participation of all Cambodians overseas, and – to produce paper work on mechanism, technical and comparative studies through researches and academic gatherings.
Solution: H.E. Kuoy Bunroeun welcomed the tasks of research and recommended to submit petition through a right channel. NEC is implementing in accordance to the existing laws solely.

  1. In the future, the NEC shall prepare high ranking officer(s) to visit Khmers diaspora to interact with them about the progress of the NEC.

  2. H.E. Kuoy Bunroeun debriefed the advantage and disadvantage points of the new NEC following:

Advantage Points:

  • Institutionalized into Cambodia Constitution
  • Procedures, mechanism, and implementation of the NEC
  • Election laws: new voter registration using fingerprint, photos and computer database etc.
  • Able to make all decision makings

Disadvantage points:

  • Population database and identity matching are under limit
  • Ability of NEC’s staffs especially in each voting booth (PSO) is under limit
  • Infrastructure such as electricity is very limited
  • Etc.

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2016

Cambodia Election 2013 of Lesson to Be Learnt through IFES Survey Report

Source for your references

IMG_20160301_161655Opinions on the Electoral Process

  • Cambodians express a strong sense of civic responsibility when it comes to voting, but, concurrently, are split on whether their individual vote makes a difference. The vast majority of Cambodians strongly (83%) or somewhat agree (16%) voting gives them a chance to influence decision-making in the country, yet there are as many Cambodians who agree (47%) as those who disagree (44%) their vote may not make a difference. Undertaking campaigns explaining the importance and value of each citizen’s vote, as well as building knowledge of and confidence in all aspects of the electoral process may encourage more citizens to vote.
  • Focus group findings highlight a lack of awareness regarding other forms of civic influence besides voting. When discussing how citizens can be a part of the democratic process, very few focus group participants are able to cite other examples. While enthusiasm and belief in the importance of voting is very positive, the low awareness of how to be civically active highlights the need to inform citizens about other avenues of civic participation that can help them express their views on social and political issues.
  •  Just as Cambodians believe in the importance of voting, most citizens believe elections are crucial and participation is the obligation of people living in Cambodia (84%). Still, four in 10 (43%) acknowledge there is room for improvement in the electoral process. Many respondents suggest obtaining more information about, and easing access to, the electoral process in order to improve the process. Respondents also mention addressing procedural issues, such as improving accessibility of polling stations for persons with disabilities, taking steps to improve the voter registry, adding more polling stations and providing better oversight and organization of elections overall. Focus group participants reveal similar opinions. Providing more voter education information; takings steps to improve the transparency and fairness of the process; and making the voter registration process easier to understand are all mentioned as ways to improve the electoral process. These findings highlight citizens’ recommendations on how to improve the process, and consequently their opinions of the process, and could be taken into consideration in future strategic planning initiatives.
  • Cambodians also express strong support for public disclosure of campaign contributions in higher percentages than in the 2012 IFES survey. Eighty-five percent of Cambodians believe it is very (45%) or somewhat (40%) important for candidates and parties to publically disclose the money received for their campaigns. This compares to 2012 data, in which 73% of Cambodians said it is very (34%) or somewhat (39%) important for candidates and parties to publicly disclose the money they receive for their campaigns. This increase illuminates heightened awareness of the importance of disclosure in campaign finance over the past year.

Read entire research by IFES on Cambodia 2013 Survey_Report