CAMBODIAN PM CALLS ON PEOPLE TO VOTE IN JULY GENERAL ELECTION

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Wednesday called on the eligible voters to cast their ballots in the forthcoming general election.

"I'd like to appeal to all compatriots and youths to vote on 29th July, 2018," he said in a Facebook post.

The prime minister thanked the people for trusting his leadership and hoped they would continue voting for the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) in order to ensure long-lasting peace and development.

"No any leaders who advise their peoples not to vote, but only ill-willed individuals who want to destroy democracy and people's will can do this," said Hun Sen.

He said that in Europe and the United States, voter turnouts were low, around 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively, but the election results were acceptable, while in Cambodia, the turnout was over 69 percent in the 2013 general election.

Hun Sen's calls and comments came after self-exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his group repeatedly called for people to boycott the election, giving the reason that the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was not allowed to participate in the election.

According to the National Election Committee (NEC), five political parties -- the ruling CPP, the royalist Funcinpec Party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the Cambodian Youth Party, the Cambodian Nationality Party, and the Khmer National United Party -- had been officially allowed to contest in the upcoming election.

NEC is considering the registration applications by other 15 political parties and the final number of the political parties joining the race will be released on May 21.

Some 8.3 million Cambodian people are eligible to cast their ballots in the upcoming election.

In the 2013 general election, eight political parties joined the race. As a result, the CPP won 68 seats against 55 seats for the then-CNRP in the 123-seat National Assembly.

The CNRP was dissolved on Nov. 16 last year by the Supreme Court after its leader Kem Sokha, Sam Rainsy's successor, was arrested on Sept. 3 last year and charged with "treason" for conspiring with a foreign power in an attempt to overthrow the government.

Sam Rainsy has been living in self-imposed exile in France since 2015 to avoid at least eight-year-prison sentence for defamation and incitement cases.

Source: NAM News Network