Kampong Cham province – Residents here yesterday expressed concern about the lack of energy during the count process for Sunday’s national election.
Many in Kampong Siem district’s Koh Mit commune said that they felt indifferent, even as the National Election Committee said that the voter turnout rate in the province had risen to 81.28 percent, up from 69.68 in 2013.
Kin Tab, a resident in the commune, said yesterday that the atmosphere was more lively after the 2013 national election, when there was a real opposition party to contend with the ruling CPP.
“This time it was quiet as there was no opposition party present,” Mr Tab said. “Now the way was paved for the ruling party to win the election.”
Nonetheless, Mr Tab said that many people in his village expressed gratitude for being able to vote for more than one party.
“In my opinion, I know the ruling party will win because many people in my village love Hun Sen,” Mr Tab said. “But the election in 2013 was more energetic.”
Keo Veasna, another resident in the commune, echoed Mr Tab’s testimony regarding how quiet it was compared to previous elections.
“Before, people were eager to find out the election results, but now people voted and went back to their daily activities,” Mr Veasna said. “People are free to choose whatever party they like, but many now don’t care too much for the results because we know who’s going to win.”
According to preliminary National Election Committee results, the ruling CPP secured 76.78 percent of valid votes nationwide, roughly 4.8 million, meaning that it will likely secure all 125 seats in the National Assembly.
According to preliminary results from the NEC, 470,248 out of 576,550 registered voters in the province turned out to vote. It noted that there were 51,793 invalid ballots, while 418,096 were deemed valid.
Meang Meng Huon, head of the Provincial Election Commission, said yesterday that the province saw a peaceful electoral process.
“I saw that people enjoyed voting,” Mr Meng Huon said, adding that polling stations were closely watched by electoral observers, members of the armed forces and election officials.
“This year was quiet because voters understood the electoral process and they now understand that the election was free and fair,” he added.
When asked about the 2013 election’s energy as the results were being counted, Mr Meng Huon said that voters didn’t understand the way elections work back then.
“They thought that the real results came from observers, not the NEC,” he said. “Counts done by observers at polling stations don’t count, whether it was done by a party or it was done independently.”
Ven Ratanak, a Cambodian Youth Party executive in the province, said yesterday that his party concluded that Sunday’s poll was smooth and non-violent.
“We accept it because it was accurate, there was no cheating in the ballots and there were no irregularities,” he said. “I’m proud that our party received the support of 2,373 voters.”
When asked if people were actively ignoring election results due to the dissolution of the CNRP, he said: “Yes, I think so because people know that no one can challenge the CPP.”
In 2013 national election, the former opposition CNRP won ten out of 18 seats in Kampong Cham, with the rest going to the CPP.