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International Observers Impressed with Government’s Election Presentation

PHNOM PENH: The Royal Government’s General Department of Information hosted its first workshop for international observers at Phnom Penh’s Sokha Hotel on Friday. While there, EAC News had a chance to speak with two observers from the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), who were pleased with the government’s presentation ahead of Sunday’s election.

Former US Congressman Dan Burton is an international co-chair of the IAPP and represents members of parliament in over 150 countries. Established in South Korea in 2016, the IAPP is a part of the UPF that sends parliamentarians to work to build safe, stable and peaceful societies. In an interview with EAC News, the former Republican Congressman noted, “They asked us to come to make sure the rest of the world knows it’s honest.”

When asked about the recent controversy involving the exclusion of the major opposition Candlelight Party from the ballot, Burton said he hadn’t heard much about it. “But there's been some people that said things aren't fair and should have been handled differently,” he said, perhaps referring to the US embassy who declined to send observers to this year’s election following the National Election Committee’s decision not to allow the Candlelight Party to run due to insufficient paperwork.

“[It’s] great to see Cambodia becoming a democratic country, a democracy, and I wish we saw more of this in the world,” said Burton. “I've talked to several people here and they think the government’s doing a great job.”

Dr. Michael Jenkins is President of the Universal Peace Federation, an NGO at general consultative status with the United Nations. “Prime Minister Hun Sen's leadership with ASEAN has been outstanding,” he said. “We are very interested in how he led the nation forward toward peace and security, and that's our fundamental purpose.”

Jenkins did not comment on the Candlelight Party controversy when asked, but said, “I'm very impressed with the whole effort to really make sure that the leadership of this nation is really coming from the people.” He was impressed with the Cambodian politicians he had met, saying, “They've been very knowledgeable about world affairs and very excellent in dialogue with other nations.”

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