Cambodians across the country went to the polls this morning to elect their senators in what is expected to be the clean sweep at the polls for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Sunday (Feb 25).
The Senate election came three months after Cambodia’s most credible opposition, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was dissolved by the Supreme Court for allegedly plotting a “revolution” following the arrest of its leader Kem Sokha in September.
The contest today for the 58 seats in the Upper House is between the CPP and its three allies, the Khmer National United Party, Funcinpec and Cambodian Youth Party. Two more senators are to be appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni and two others to be voted in the parliament.
Prime Minister Hun Sen cast his ballot this morning in his Kandal constituency while National Assembly Heng Samrin voted in Kampong Cham.
National Election Committee chairman Sik Bun Hok defended the polls against concerns raised by foreign governments and observers over the legitimacy of the elections, saying Japan and China were supporting Cambodian elections.
The opposition CNRP issued a statement yesterday calling on the United Nations and the international community to label today’s election as unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Sok Nary, the ruling party’s first deputy chief said the absence of the CNRP and any strong opponent for the elections has become a “new normal”.