Partyforumseasia: Before the election there was already confusion about the voters lists. Some were too short, many voters were missing, some others were too long, with possible phantom voters. There were many suspicions that the ruling CPP would use the normal tricks to manipulate the outcome of the election which it could not afford to lose. The official observer teams, not all from very democratic countries, were as ineffective as they normally are. But this time a range of civil society initiatives tried to uncover irregularities. In part 2 of his observations, Max Grömping from The Electoral Integrity Project supplies us with a very interesting assessment how civic election observation works and where its limitations are.
Look up the whole report at the following LINK:
Partyforumseasia: As expected, the CPP has retained majority and power, but the opposition has improved from 29 to 55 out of 123 seats. That is a great victory on the background of much confusion about irregularities with the voter lists and washable indelible ink. More analysis will follow when the dust settles.
Read more in the Phnom Penh Post of 29th July 2013:
Partyforumseasia: The triumphant return from exile of opposition leader Sam Rainsy last week and the increased visibility of young anti-CPP campaigners in Phnom Penh and bigger cities has tempted many foreign journalists to predict a sea change in Cambodia’s politics. Partyforumseasia has been more cautious in view of the overwhelming control of the country by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his CPP. Some gains of the opposition, more united at last, should be possible, though. But recent reports about discrepancies in the voters lists do not augur well for a clean procedure. Under-registration and intimidation of known opposition voters have been common before, over-registration in other constituencies may mean that “ghost voters” can tip the balance decisively. These ghosts have been haunting other countries in the region as well.
Partyforumseasia: Since personal identification techniques are working well with banking services or tax returns, internet voting may be the next step to facilitate a higher voter turnout or make the voting more convenient in remote places. Benjamin Goldsmith, Election Technology Adviser with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems gives an overview on the developments in this field:
Partyforumseasia: The Cambodian election campaign is getting a bit more interesting. Two weeks before election day on 28 July, King Norodom Sihamoni has pardoned opposition leader Sam Rainsy who will return from exile in France to Phnom Penh on the 19th. The pardon comes at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen “in a spirit of reconciliation”. Sam Rainsy is not too optimistic on his Facebook page that his return can really challenge the expected CPP victory: “In the short time that has been made available, I hope to be able to meet my fellow countrymen to discuss their concerns and to hold discussions with leaders of all political parties on the best way foward for Cambodia.” He knows quite well that PM Hun Sen would not take the risk of losing just for the spirit of reconciliation. Nevertheless, some gains for the united opposition which runs as Cambodia National Rescue Party can be expected – an interesting development after the Malaysian GE in May and the Singaporean by-election in March this year.
But there is a high probability that PM Hun Sen will keep smiling after the election.
Partyforumseasia: Yesterday, 7 July 2013, Sam Rainsy has announced his return to Cambodia. See his Facebook page.
The country will be going to the polls on 28 July and – as usual – Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is expected to win big. The long term ruling party is well prepared with a total penetration of the administration and its control of media and economy. Could opposition leader Sam Rainsy be Hun Sen’s nemesis this time? Rainsy lives in exile since 2009 to avoid imprisonment up to eleven years after a dubious conviction, but the internet allows him constant contact with his party. And this time the opposition has managed to unite in the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). Sam Rainsy is the only Cambodian politician with the format and popularity to challenge PM Hun Sen, whose official title is as impressive as his long term grip on power: “The Noble, Supreme, Great, and All Powerful Commander-in-Chief, Prime Minister Hun Sen”. But many Cambodians resent the cronyism and corruption of the CPP regime and the evident nepotism in the Prime Minister’s family.
Partyforumseasia: Busyro Muqoddas, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) of Indonesia, has called the Prosperous Justice Party PKS “not a party of angels”. The latest series of scandals has been highlighted by John Mcbeth in the Straits Times of July 2d 2013. Here is a part of his report:
Apart from doubts about the complete innocence of angels – even these famous ones by Raffael have some mischevious twinkle in the corner of their eyes – Partyforumseasia does not know any party of angels in this world. The question is whether Indonesians are so used to corrupt politics and politicians that they don’t expect angel parties or somewhat cleaner than the others-parties any more.
Another interesting observation of Mcbeth is the split between more religious and ideological PKS members and the more secular pragmatists who adapt to a more affluent lifestyle and don’t mind to make some bucks in the shadow. Only the next elections will show whether voters seriously mind corruption in a major Islamist party or take political corruption for granted.