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Cambodia's CommuneSangkat Council Election Campaign Begins Nationwide

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Phnom Penh: On the morning of Saturday 21 May, the political parties, who will participate in the 5th election of the Commune/Sangkat Council, have started their campaign marches to compete for the people’s vote for their party.

According to the National Election Committee in March, seventeen parties will run in the election on 5 June.

The largest party in Cambodia, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has launched a nationwide election campaign, showing the strength of millions of supporters, while other parties seem less active.

In a message dated Saturday 21 May 2022, on behalf of the CPP, the President has pledged in front of the people that the party will successfully implement its policies to maintain peace, stability, security, order, social security, improve the provision of public services, increase social protection, increase the help of the poor and vulnerable, and developing communes in all fields to meet the higher aspirations and interests of all people everywhere.

CPP's President Hun Sen said, "For the past 43 years, after the overthrow of the genocidal regime of Pol Pot with the historic victory on 7 January 1979, the Cambodian People's Party has led the nation through countless obstacles and difficulties to move forward on the right path that fully responds to the aspirations of the people to achieve great achievements in all areas."

He added that the Cambodian people are now living happily in peace and national unity to develop society and improve their lives.

CPP supporter Seng Leang Chhay said, "I have loved the CPP since the beginning, I live because of the CPP and I am happy because of the CPP…[Commune/Sangkat election] is important because it helped to build our commune and village well. Please vote for the CPP, because he has been a very good leader since 1979. He is good."

In addition, Yanphearat also said, "Today is [the start of] the campaign for election day of the party in each commune, and so I join the CPP, which is my favorite party…The reason why commune elections are important is that we have the right to express our views in choosing our leaders and also to trust the leaders who are working to develop our country."

On the first day of this campaign, another interested party that also marched in Phnom Penh is the Candlelight Party. Although party supporters say that democracy in Cambodia does not seem to be complete, they are happy to be campaigning and voting this year.

A resident of Koh Dach commune, Sovina, 50, said, "I feel happy because we have not been campaigning for about 4-5 years since the dissolution of the CNRP, but the Candlelight Party marched. This time, we participate in the commune election in a big way…Importantly, we want to participate in the commune [election] to protect the people who have a hard time making official paperwork. Because before there was only one party, he rode free, so people have had a hard time; now we join the Candlelight Party, we help the people who are having a hard time making official paperwork, and so we help bring democracy to them through the Candlelight Party "

Another 50-year-old supporter of the Candlelight Party said, "I feel happy because our people, the democrats, like democracy and election. If it is a true democracy, the Candlelight Party will surely win… Question: Do you think this year's election is democratic? I cannot conclude that; I say 50-50%."

Today's campaign includes marches from the CPP, Candlelight Party, and other parties, which went smoothly, non-discriminatory, non-violent, and equally.

The National Election Committee (NEC) also called on all local authorities to take a neutral position in their work and to coordinate the location, road, and time for each political party to implement their programs and their campaign marches.

Sam Kuntheamy, Necfic Executive Director, noted that on the first day of the campaign, there were two parties that launched large-scale campaigns, the Cambodian People's Party and the Candlelight Party, and did not see any irregularities in the campaign.

"For the first day, there were no irregularities; it was very smooth according to my observations," he said.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea told EAC News that the first day of the election campaign went smoothly, with a large number of participants, good cooperation with local authorities, and non-violence which shows the political parties’ maturity in Cambodia.

He said, "Thus, the initial impression, since the NEC did not receive any complaints or inactivity, is we can conclude that the first day is going well, the political parties are mature and hopeful. This is an encouragement to the people to go to the polls."

The 14-day election campaign runs from 21 May to 3 June and is held every five years. Each party can hold a gathering, campaign marches by foot or by vehicles, hand out flyers, promote through speakers, or publish videos to promote their political programs and seek support from the electorate.

The 5th Commune/Sangkat Council Election will be held on 5 June with the participation of 17 political parties. These parties will compete to hold commune council seats which is 11,622 nationwide from 1,652 communes/Sangkat, with more than 9.2 million registered voters.

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