Prince Agrees With Election Monitors on Polls

Prince Norodom Ranariddh met with election monitors Tues­day, saying he agreed with their proposed changes to the communal election draft laws but warned them he had little power to implement those changes in the National Assembly.

Kek Galabru, who heads one of Cambodia’s three main election watchdog groups, said the prince conceded that election candidates should be nominated as individuals rather than members of a specific political party—an electoral system monitors hope will reduce party influence.

In the current draft law now waiting for parliamentary discussion, commune residents will vote for a party, which will nominate candidates for commune leadership from its own ranks.

Though criticized for giving stronger parties an unfair advantage, this system has the support of Prime Minister Hun Sen be­cause of its popularity with some international donors, Kek Gala­bru quoted the prince as saying.

“[Donors] say this system will give more of a chance to smaller parties,” Kek Galabru said. “This might work for national elections but these are local elections and you should vote for an individual, not a party.”

The prince also told monitors he thought the National Election Committee should be restructured, though he added that this depends on the National Assem­bly, Kek Galabru said.

“But he said this does not depend on him—it depends on the National Assembly,” she said.


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