Cambodia Polls Unlikely to be Credible and Transparent, Says Watchdog

The June 5 commune and sangkat elections have been largely pre-scripted by the ruling CPP, but the international response could be something to watch.

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.

In full: https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/cambodia-polls-unlikely-to-be-credible-and-transparent-says-watchdog/

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