There are widespread political campaigns both at home and abroad to convince Cambodian citizens not to turn up and vote in the general election scheduled to be held on July 29. Such campaigns seriously undermine the core principles of electoral democracy and violate the election law. Such activities also threaten hard-earned democracy in Cambodia.
Cambodia has conducted successfully five national elections since 1993. The National Election Committee (NEC) has been continuously reformed to enhance its capacity and professionalism to ensure free and fair elections.
Holding a belief that democracy offers the best conditions for people living together in peace and harmony, the Cambodian government and people have embraced democratic values and relentlessly strengthen democratic institutions through the implementation of multi-layered and multi-sectoral reforms.
Free and fair elections enable all citizens to become engaged in state affairs, which in turn strengthen state-society trust and relationship. The State on its own cannot exist without the trust and confidence of the people and a general election provides legitimacy to its existence.
In a democracy, every person has the opportunity of assuming responsibility and serving the community. Every citizen is entitled to vote, regardless of gender, social status and political affiliation and they have a national duty to vote to choose the leaders that they like and support.
Democracy reconciles the freedom of the individual with society’s aspirations, generating a sense of the common good and shared responsibility.
The government created after the election is bound to fulfill the will of the people and that is how democracy produces its own acceptance and stability.
Some argue that without the presence of the main opposition party, the upcoming election will not be free and fair. We need to understand the root causes that led to the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). It is about the rule of law and there is no democracy without it. If many people from different walks of life and political orientation are to live together harmoniously, there is a need for common rules.
Politicians lie but laws don’t. Everyone is equal before the law, and criminals cannot evade legal punishment, with law enforcement fairly implemented for all citizens. The government’s actions are scrutinized and bound by laws and effective rule of law therefore represents the basis of any democracy.
Democratic institutions need support from the citizens. In turn, citizens play an active part in sustaining the legitimacy and functioning of the state. Voting is one the vehicles for citizens to express themselves and participate in political life.
The democratic constitution contributes to a country’s political identity. Everybody can belong to the community as long as they respect its rules and live by its values.
The future of democracy in Cambodia is in the hands of Cambodian citizens. Going to vote is the right and duty of every Cambodian electorate.
No force can change the democratic path in Cambodia and neither can it change the common value of Cambodian society. Cambodians are proud of what they have achieved in terms of peace, development and democracy.