Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cambodia Holds Council Election for Cities, Districts and Provinces

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

A total of 11,353 party operatives from 1,621 Communes and Sangkats will select representatives in Council elections to be held May 17. All four political parties including the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), FUNCINPEC, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, will be fielding contenders, according to Tep Nytha, Secretary General of the National Election Committee (NEC).

The Secretary General said the election process will begin at 7:00 am on Sunday, May 17, 2009 with 217 polling stations distributed across the country and will close at 3: 00 pm on the same day.

There are a total of 3,235 candidates standing for selection; 374 candidates are standing for municipalities with the remaining 2,861 candidates hoping for election to provincial, district and khan council seats, said Nytha. He added that the Candidate lists for the four political parties recorded the names of 17, 290 candidates including 8, 506 titular and 8, 784 substitute candidates.

“This election is non-universal and it is the first occasion that the NEC has organized such proceedings in Cambodia. The main objective of the election is to choose council members to represent the registered political parties for work in municipalities, provinces, districts and Khans throughout the country,” Nytha said during a telephone interview with The Cambodia Weekly on May 13.

According to Nytha, information from the 217 polling stations states that the Cambodian Peoples’ Party has 6,605 candidates, including 900 female candidates. The Sam Rainsy Party has 6,384 candidates including 921 females listed in 205 polling stations. The FUNCINPEC Party has 2,094 candidates including 386 females listed in 71 polling stations; and the Norodom Ranariddh Party has a total of 2,207 candidates including 346 females listed in 64 polling stations.

“I hope that based on our solid preparations and previous experience in organizing elections, this round of democratic activity will be a success. I also give my personal assurance that elections will be free, fair and credible,” Nytha said.

The Secretary General said that proceedings would be scrutinized by 270 local and foreign observers from eight non-governmental organizations. They will be deployed around the polling stations to observe Sunday’s activities.

Nytha also stated that to hold Council Elections for 2009, the National Election Committee will spend about $US1.5 million. The entire sum will be provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Besides organizing the Council Elections for 2009, the NEC will organize the upcoming Commune Elections and the Senate Elections in 2012.

So far, the NEC has organized six important and successful elections in Cambodia. These include three elections to the National Assembly, two elections to the Commune Councils and one election to the Senate, according to Nytha. ////


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