Cambodia poll sees 80 per cent turnout

Despite calls for a boycott, the just-concluded general election in Cambodia saw a turnout as high as 80.49 per cent, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

It said the turnout was even higher than the 69 per cent turnout in the last election five years ago.

Sik Bun Hok, chairman of NEC described the high turnout as a success of the election and said Cambodia “should be proud.”  Thai PBS reporter covering the election in Phnom Penh quoted an NEC official as saying that the turnout reflected the Cambodian people’s understanding of democracy.  

He dismissed criticisms that the election was not free and fair since the main opposition party had been dissolved while the media and non-government organizations had been under pressure from the government.  The European Union and at least three other countries, including the US, Japan and Australia,  didn’t send observers to monitor the election.

He said the stand taken by these countries is not as important as the turnout of the voters.

Critics see the election as a sham and designed only to prolong Prime Minister Hun Sen’s 33-year grip on power.  

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