Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday confirmed that the election of senators and the national election will go ahead as planned and without any changes, while former opposition party leader Sam Rainsy requested a postponement which he said would avoid any violence and Cambodia becoming a pariah state.
Speaking during the announcement of the National Policy on Ageing for 2017-2030, Mr Hun Sen said the prime minister had no right to delay the elections and that the election of senators will go ahead on February 25 and the national election will be on July 29, as scheduled.
“I confirm that the senate election date has not changed, and the July 29, 2018, national election, which is the sixth mandate, will continue on schedule, despite what’s happening,” he said.
“Cambodia’s democracy gives the right to the prime minister to schedule voting. In Cambodia, the prime minister has no right to delay the election. In the upcoming elections, there is no change whatsoever, at any cost. We must to have the elections.
“We have to do it. This is the same as in 1997 and 1998. Although the prime minister has declared a date, the prime minister must abide by the constitution and the prime minister has no right to delay the election days,” he added.
Self-exiled former leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy posted on his twitter account that he would like to propose that Mr Hun Sen postpone the national election.
“I would like to make this proposal to Hun Sen, let’s postpone the next national elections until we all have guaranties that those polls can meet minimum international standards,” he said. “This would avoid both violence and Cambodia becoming a pariah state.”
The previous national election was in 2013. The National Election Committee announced that some 9.67 million Cambodians were eligible to vote.
In 2013, voter turnout was reported to be 68.5 percent, making it the lowest turnout in history. The Cambodian People’s Party won 68 seats and the then opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party won all the remaining 55 seats.