Cambodia: Govt schedules June 5 for 2022 commune elections

A woman casts her ballot during the commune elections in 2017​ in Phnom Penh’s Russey Keo district. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN

PHNOM PENH, March 7 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The government has set June 5 as the date to hold the 2022 commune elections. The decision was made official in a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 1.

National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Sik Bun Hok told The Post on March 4 that NEC had already been preparing to hold the upcoming elections.

“NEC will work hard to ensure the elections run smoothly and as transparently as possible, in a manner that all political parties can accept.

“We’re used to holding [commune] elections – and doing it well – so we are going to maintain that tradition. We’re focused on serving the voters and making sure every voter can cast their ballot, resting assured it is all done fairly,” he said.

Bun Hok added that although no election in Cambodia had ever been disrupted so far, election procedures could always be adapted, reformed and improved so that each election will be more perfect and transparent than the previous one and is acceptable to all parties.

“We tend to think more about the election held once every five years. The schedule for the elections is set by law so it can’t be delayed or ignored, it always must be held. Because of that we normally prepare everything well in advance so that’s business as usual.

“We focus on each task step-by-step before we get to the actual election date. And if we change anything through reforms then we really have to make sure we’re prepared to deal with that,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen set the date at the request of the Minister of Interior. According to the election law, the prime minister must announce the date of the commune electioan at least nine months before the date of the election.

Grassroots Democratic Party spokesperson Loek Sothea said [his party] was happy with the date of the upcoming commune elections.

“The communal elections empower local people to elect their leaders and develop their [political] base directly. Our party is fully prepared to run candidates in the elections,” he said.

Sothea added that his party was hoping that with this election they would see an increase in their overall support from voters and that they are preparing to hold a national convention to lay out plans for it.

Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia Korn Savang said the date being set was fine and everything was being done by the books so far.

“I’ve requested that the government and the political parties hold a dialogue together about how they can make it easier for citizens to participate in the [political process], and especially make sure they feel comfortable expressing their views and informing them about ways they can get involved,” he said.

Savang also requested that a review of the election law be made with a focus on past irregularities that had occurred in order to prevent future flaws, even though the elections in question are over with and have long been settled. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN

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