The National Election Committee has requested the Japanese government to send experts to teach Cambodian officials on ways to educate the public on the importance of participating in democratic elections both at the national and subnational levels.
Sik Bun Hok, NEC president, made the request to newly-appointed Japanese Ambassador Mikami Masahiro, who visited the NEC headquarters on Friday.
In a video obtained yesterday, Dim Sovannrom, NEC spokesman, told reporters after the meeting that Mr Bun Hok requested Mr Masahiro for Japan to send election experts to help Cambodian officials prepare for the next national and subnational elections due in 2022 and 2023.
“NEC requests the Japanese embassy to ask its government to provide experts to teach our officials about disseminating information on election issues in order to make people clearly understand the value of democracy,” Mr Sovannarom quoted Mr Bun Hok as saying in the meeting.
Mr Bun Hok stressed that NEC is focusing on getting people aged 18 years and above to register as voters and making their votes count during an election.
“We want to hold elections just like developed countries so that people will know the election is fair and the result is recognised by all relevant parties,” Mr Bun Hok said. “This is important to ensure political stability in the country.”
In response, Mr Masahiro said Japan remains committed to continue helping Cambodia in all sectors, including the electoral process.
“Japan will help to strengthen the electoral process to be more transparent in Cambodia,” he told Mr Bun Hok.
Mr Sovannrom noted that during the meeting, Mr Masahiro praised the NEC for carrying out the 2018 national election smoothly with no violence being reported.
The ruling CPP won all 125 seats in the National Assembly during the national election in July, which saw a voter turnout of 83 percent.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director at the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia, yesterday said that he supports the NEC request to Japan.
“It is a positive move to ask Japan to help NEC on disseminating information about the electoral process because the Japanese have experience in conducting elections,” he said. “Cambodians will be able to understand more clearly about the election process, especially ticking the ballot paper to indicate which political parties they support.”