Aun Pheap and Zsombor Peter, veteran journalists at The Cambodia Daily, last night won a major Excellence in Investigative Reporting award from the Society of Publishers in Asia, which held a gala event in Hong Kong.
The pair won for their investigative feature, “Still Taking a Cut” (December 16), which exposed military involvement in Cambodia’s illegal timber trade. Mr. Pheap and Mr. Peter are currently facing court action from authorities in Ratanakkiri province for a separate story.
Large North American retail chain looking for close outs, stock lots, overruns, cancelled orders, to be sold in North America. Finished goods or fabric.
Cambodia’s changing demographic destiny is a topic of regular speculation.
A youthful population, with more than two-thirds of the country under the age of 35 as of 2013, both offers the promise of a rising post-Khmer Rouge generation and raises questions about how those young Cambodians will shape the country they inherit.
This year’s Project Inspire explores the question of where young people will fit into a burgeoning economy. Specifically, the event will focus on undervalued professions, like teaching and art, with a series of talks aimed at broadening the range of potential jobs young people might consider pursuing.
The event will also feature performances by singer/songwriter Sai Bt and performing arts troupe Amrita.
Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center, located at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Tickets are $2.50 apiece. For more information, contact 085 539 959 or email@example.com.
Ex-Royalist Bags KNUP Commune
While 1,645 of the country’s 1,646 communes were divvied up between the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP during Sunday’s ballot, one remote commune in Banteay Meanchey province went against the grain once again and handed the Khmer National United Party (KNUP) its first-ever commune chief position.
Da Chhean, who defected from Funcinpec to the KNUP last year when former military commander Nhek Bun Chhay left the royalists to launch his own party, held his position as commune chief in Thma Puok district’s Thma Puok commune on the Thai border.
This is the second local election in a row in which Thma Puok has been the only commune in the country not to have voted in either the CPP or a major opposition party. It was Funcinpec’s sole commune chief position in 2012, so Mr. Chhean’s defection means his former party does not control a single commune in Cambodia. (George Wright)
Adhoc Defector Out on Top for CPP
Chhay Thy, the former Ratanakkiri provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc who made headlines in January when he defected to the ruling party, won the commune chief position in O’yadaw district’s Pate commune on Sunday.
Pate, which was the only commune in the northeastern province to elect an opposition chief in 2012, also saw the new Grassroots Democracy Party beat the CNRP for second place, according to the National Election Committee’s preliminary results. “I am very proud that the people voted for a CPP commune chief because they believed in my capacity to help their community,” Mr. Thy said. “We will do as promised, such as building a rural road accessible from their farms.” (Van Roeun)
Flooding Didn’t Stop Vote in Provinces
Flooded roads and polling stations as well as waterways clogged with water hyacinths were no match for determined voters and election officials in several provinces, National Election Committee (NEC) president Sik Bunhok said after the polls closed on Sunday.
Inundated roads temporarily blocked the delivery of election materials to polling stations in Oddar Meanchey, Kratie and Mondolkiri provinces, Mr. Bunhok said during a news conference in Phnom Penh. “Kratie and Mondolkiri required intervention by airplane in order to provide the election equipment to the polling offices,” he said.
In Battambang province’s Koh Chivaing commune, an overgrowth of water hyacinths threatened to stop voters and election officers from reaching polling stations located on the water and only accessible by boat, Mr. Bunhok said. That was until authorities moved them out of the way. In four provinces, flooded polling sites had to be moved to nearby higher ground, with signs placed at the original locations to notify voters, he said. (Phan Soumy)
Tuk-Tuk Driver-Cum-Observer Sees ‘No Problems’
Taking a day off from chauffeuring customers around Phnom Penh in his tuk-tuk, election observer Keo Phalla said on Sunday that voting had gone much more smoothly than his first time monitoring elections in 2013. “Since polls opened until now, it’s been good. There have been no problems,” said Mr. Phalla, 50, a short, cheery man wearing a blue polo.
An observer for election monitor Comfrel, he was stationed at Kolab Primary School in Daun Penh district’s Srah Chak commune. “Before, when they counted the votes, you couldn’t watch,” he said. “Now, we’ll be able to watch.”
He also noted that the ballots would be counted at the polling stations, an improvement over the last election, when they were moved to a separate office to be tallied. (Brendan O’Byrne and Matt Surrusco)
Vigilante Election Observer Voices Concerns on Results
Clutching a paper with a scribbled tally of Phsar Kandal 1 village election results, 38-year-old Khuy Hok reviewed his calculations various times on Sunday afternoon as he stood before the Tonle Sap riverside polling stations.
“I worry about the results,” the vigilante election observer said. “I am a bit worried about them announcing the results—that they might be different than the ones now.” According to his calculations, he said, the CNRP had won the commune chief position by 204 votes, with a total of 2018 across the villages. “When they announce the result, I’ll compare my results with the official one,” he said, peering down at his figures once more. (Buth Kimsay)
Younger Brother Unseats His Sibling in Takeo Tussle
In Takeo province’s Doung commune, Sunday night’s election was extra personal for CPP candidate and incumbent commune chief Nop Touch and his younger brother, CNRP challenger Nop Sokheng.
Mr. Sokheng ended up victorious in the contest, beating his sibling with 51.6 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Touch’s 39.3 percent. Contacted yesterday, Mr. Sokheng didn’t appear to be surprised by his victory. “Normally, [the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party] unite together well,” he said. “We weren’t afraid to lose.”
He said he hadn’t seen his brother, who couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday, since the result had been announced. Mr. Sokheng added that he would be getting right down to work, asking the government to bring canals and roads to his commune. “Now we are ready to fulfill our jobs and serve for the people’s benefit,” he said. (Ben Sokhean)
We are an International real estate developer focusing on Township Development, Water Park and International Golf Course (18 holes).
The National Election Committee has stopped its count of ballots in today’s Commune Election and we will resume tomorrow morning.
CNRP Vice President Mu Sochua says the opposition will be asking for recounts in any communes in which the vote count between the two major parties varied by 1 percent or less. She acknowledged the election results released by the government aligned Fresh News, which showed the CNRP trailing the CPP by 1163 to 482, but says the CNRP is still calculating the vote totals.
Government affiliated Fresh News is reporting the CPP won 1163 communes, compared to 482 for the opposition CNRP. These are unofficial results in today’s Commune Election, the first local vote in Cambodia in five years. The NEC vote-count is trailing. Popular vote totals yet to come.
The NEC is starting to release the results of today’s Commune Elections.
Count begins with “B”…Banteay Meanchey province. It’s going to be a long night.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea says preliminary results are in for today’s commune elections, but are delayed because of internet woes. He says the National Election Committee’s nine members are verifying the results now.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea is speaking from the Hotel Sofitel Phnom Penh. He is continuing to explain the vote counting process for today’s commune election and has apologized for the delay in releasing any preliminary results. He said they are upcoming.
Top leadership at CNRP watching for results of today’s Commune Election at its headquarter in Chak Angrae Leu commune.
Big media presence at the National Election Committee in Phnom Penh tonight as the Commune Election vote comes in from across Cambodia.
Cambodia’s National Election Committee is holding a news conference.
The NEC has released the total number of people who cast their votes today. Out of 7,865,033 registered voters, 6,743,329 voted, it said. That amounts to a turnout of about 85 percent
Votes are being counted at Boeung Trabek high school in Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune in Phnom Penh. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Polling stations are closed.
Polling stations to close in 10 minutes. The NEC says it will have some preliminary results at 5:00 p.m.
Four voters in Tbong Khmum province who drove to their polling places on motorbikes with Vietnamese license plates had their motorbikes temporarily impounded, according to provincial police chief Pen Rath. He says the drivers were allowed to vote, but were told to come back tomorrow with documents proving their ownership. Information Minister Khieu Kanharith posted about the situation on his Facebook page, saying two activists had driven to the polls with “ill intention to put blame and attack the ruling party and NEC” for allowing a “Yuon” to vote — using a derogatory term for Vietnamese. (Kuch Naren/The Cambodia Daily)
Polling observers. From left to right: Cambodia Youth Federation, CPP, CNRP, Comfrel, CPP. All said they’re happy to be here. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Activist monk Loun Sovath said he was ordered to leave a voting site in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district by police and election officials this morning for filming people outside the voting stations. “When I asked them what law…they said it was not wrong but because of public security,” he said. Loun Sovath said he heeded the order, but disagreed with it. “In a democratic country, we have the right to stand and to film,” he said. (Zsombor Peter/The Cambodia Daily)
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea says the League for Democracy Party (LDP) was warned by the NEC today for violating commune election law by doing “live coverage on social media,” which has been prohibited on Election Day and the day prior. “Every party is informed to halt live coverage right away,” he says. (Sek Odom/The Cambodia Daily)
CNRP president Kem Sokha says the party hopes to get more than 60 percent of the vote in today’s commune elections. He says the opposition already stated its plan and now “how much we get will depend on the people.”
He added, “So far, the voting process is better than the previous mandate. Later on, what it will be, I don’t know.”
“Compared to the previous mandate…the show of the will to support the CNRP is more than the previous time,” he said. “Complaining is normal. Whoever wants to complain, I don’t care much. The important thing is the CNRP wants to win with prestige and win with honor.” (Ouch Sony/The Cambodia Daily)
Student Phun Panha, 21, voted this morning at Boeung Trabek high school in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district, saying that one vote makes a difference. He says that if he “didn’t come to vote I would feel very sorry, because I’m the right age and I have the right. I have the right to choose the leader that I prefer.”
Transparency International’s initial report from the polls says the ballot box was shown to be empty, sealed, and placed in public view before the start of voting at 99.8 percent of polling stations. It also found that 95 percent of polling stations did not have campaign materials present within 100 meters outside of the polling station, as required.
88 percent of Cambodia’s polling stations opened on time this morning, according to Transparency International which sent more than 1,000 trained observers to polling stations around the country. The group sent out is initial observations a few minutes ago, saying nearly all polling stations — 99.8 percent — had representatives from the political parties present at the polls. Its says the CPP and CNRP had party agents at 94 percent of the polls and other political party agents were at 46 percent of polling stations.
Hotel worker Kan Sothea voted this morning at Chak Angrae Leu primary school polling station, saying he now feels that he “fulfilled my duty as a citizen of Phnom Penh.” It’s the second time the 27-year-old has voted. He says it feels like this election has proceeded smoothly this season.
Yim Vanny, 63, used to be a teacher at this school that’s being used today as a polling station for Cambodia’s first commune election in five years. He says he’s voted every time since 1993. “I’m very happy to participate and vote.”
CNRP president Kem Sokha has cast his ballot at the Chak Angrae Leu primary school polling station in Phnom Penh.
National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea says voters have been showing up in droves all morning. He says that in the two hours after polls opened at 7 a.m., about 30 percent of voters had already cast their ballots. He says there have been no reports of irregularities.
At the Chak Angrae Leu primary school polling station in Phnom Penh, the lines to vote snaked for many meters in the early morning.
(Photos by Hannah Hawkins)
Early lines at a polling station set up under a tent along the Tonle Sap river in Phnom Penh’s Riverside neighborhood.
Poll stations opened across the country at 7 a.m. and Prime Minister Hun Sen was among the first to vote. He cast his vote in Takhmao City and told those gathered around: “This ink looks like it cannot erase.”
(Photos by Siv Channa)
Update: 4:15 p.m.
Kem Sokha crossed the Japanese Friendship Bridge, with his open-air car passing a convoy of motorbikes to head to the front of the parade. Loudspeakers and megaphones blared campaign songs as supporters chanted “Win or not?” “Win!” and “Change or not?” “Change!”
A drone floating overhead caused many motorists to pause their snail’s pace to cheer and wave.
Update: 4:03 p.m.
The CNRP rally is on the street 289 and passing by the military police headquarter in Toul Kork district.
Update: 3:29 p.m.
CNRP rally is passing through the Chroy Chongva district roundabout.
Update: 2:50 p.m.
CNRP president Kem Sokha appealed to garment workers and government officials at this afternoon’s opposition rally speech, urging them to vote on Sunday to choose the leaders of their communities, saying “this is very important for brothers and sisters in the community.” He added: “To vote in an election, as a democracy, no party needs to tell you to vote for which party. It’s your right as a Khmer citizen to decide.” (Sek Odom)
Update: 2: 42 p.m.:
Kem Sokha’s voice is hoarse following a marathon campaign where he held rallies in different provinces nearly every day since May 20. After climbing onto a truck to speak to supporters this afternoon, he talked about the importance of the commune elections to the future of the country. He encouraged voters to know how to find their polling stations and to help their friends and coworkers find where to vote.
Update: 2: 25 p.m.:
CNRP president Kem Sokha is addressing his supporters this afternoon near Sokha Hotel before the opposition’s final Phnom Penh rally before Sunday’s commune elections.
Update: 1: 59 p.m.:
CNRP supporters gather along the riverside in advance of party president Kem Sokha’s afternoon speech.
Update: 12: 46 p.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen revealed today that the CPP paid for several television channels to carry the live broadcast of the ruling party’s election rally.
At what cost? “I would like to inform the National Election Committee that we hired the air time and it cost US $300 per minute,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “The National Election Committee requires all private televisions to allow political parties to rent time for airing.”
He said the live broadcast of the CPP rally was aired on Bayon, BTV, CTN, CNC, One TV, CTN International, Hang Meas, PNN and SEA TV.
“So I hope that other political parties if they want to rent the air time, please go to hire at the same price,” Hun Sen said.
Update: 12: 34 p.m.:
Pan Vanrith and his family are all wearing CPP shirts and hats — in the middle of the CNRP rally.
“If they support the CNRP, that’s their right,” the 51-year-old said as he sat outside his pharmacy near Wat Chas. “If we support the CPP, that’s our right.”
He said he hasn’t had any problems with CNRP supporters, and even let a few use his bathroom. “We don’t discriminate against people who support different parties.”
Update: 11: 53 a.m.:
As the procession portion of today’s CPP rally draws to a close, it’s worth comparing it to a roughly similar rally held by the CNRP two weeks ago. The ruling party’s organizational advantage really shined today, with huge turnout, good organization, and the extra star power of the prime minister himself.
In his first speech, Mr. Hun Sen riffed that his wife and children had advised him to wear a CPP short-sleeved polo shirt because that’s what his supporters would be wearing. That kind of populist touch was on display today.
Update: 11: 37 a.m.:
Not everyone was thrilled with today’s street-clogging election rallies. A young student expressed frustrated because the parade blocked the road he needed to use to get to an 11 a.m. English exam. “I think it’s taking forever,” he said, sipping an iced coffee drink layered with whipped cream.
The student said he had no plans to vote: “I’m not taking any side. It’s complicated.” (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 33 a.m.:
Hun Sen is wrapping up his speech at a Chroy Changvar district roundabout.
Update: 11: 27 a.m.:
Update: 11: 25 a.m.:
As Prime Minister Hun Sen’s convoy was leaving the center stage this morning, the rally emcee announced that supporters could exchange their CPP facial stickers for food tomorrow.
He said: “Do not throw away the stickers because you can use them to eat breakfast free tomorrow morning.”
Unfortunately, he did not say which restaurants would accept the stickers and exchange them for rice porridge, noodle soup or fried eggs and coffee. (Kuch Naren/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 11: 21 a.m.:
Update: 11: 12 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen used his first election campaign in decades to appeal to the little children standing on either side of Monivong Boulvevard as his convoy passed through Phnom Penh this morning.
“Thank you nephews and nieces…when you reach the voting ages, please vote for CPP,” he said.
He might be enjoying himself. He also vowed to join a rally for the 2018 national election. (Kuch Naren/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 10: 29 a.m.:
Cambodia Daily reporter Sek Odom climbs atop an anchor sculpture to get a better photograph of today’s CNRP commune election rally in Phnom Penh.
Update: 10: 22 a.m.:
Former CNRP president Sam Rainsy is talking with opposition supporters via Skype at today’s final pre-election rally. He says: “Thank you to many people, especially the youth, that have sacrificed to join the CNRP, which will rescue the country.” He also vowed to “meet all brothers and sisters soon, when our party is successful and we win the national election in 2018.” Commune elections, which will gauge party support across the country, are Sunday. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9: 58 a.m.:
Update: 9: 56 a.m.:
The prime minister is standing atop a truck that’s moving at the speed of a slow jog speed through the crowd as a helicopter and various drones circle overhead. He’s using a microphone to yell out: “Vote for the CPP! Please, please!” The optics of this rally are impressive and clearly well thought out. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9: 50 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen just finished a marathon speech in scorching heat, and kilometer after kilometer of supporters on his eponymous boulevard are now looking toward the stage, eager for a glimpse of their leader. The crowd is larger, older, and far mellower than the CNRP rally here two weeks ago.
Update: 9:43 a.m.:
Update: 9:41 a.m.:
Following short speeches from CNRP lawmakers and activists, the party took a break for 30 minutes of music. Following that, the rally featured a live Skype call with exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
Mr. Rainsy dropped out of the party and off the ticket back in February after the ruling party amended the Law on Political Parties to make it easier to eliminate the CNRP because he had a criminal record. So officially, he’s out. But his image remains — on shirts and hats, at least — and his voice is being used in ad spots. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:30 a.m.
Update: 9:19 a.m.
Yim Sovann addresses a crowd of supporters and talks about sharing the benefits of development and changing the leadership. Mentions Sam Rainsy, to big applause, and also says Kem Sokha will arrive around 2 for the march. “win or not?” “Win!” Call and response with crowd 3 times to end his speech. (Brendan O’Byrne/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:10 a.m.
Prime Minister Hun Sen talked about allegations that the ink used for thumbprinting ballots on Sunday was erasable with specific solvents. He told the crowd: “I would like to appeal to all political parties to accept the election results. Please don’t accuse the ink of being erasable. Don’t be frustrated……We don’t know who will lose, who will win, but we hope that we will win.” (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 9:05 a.m.
A woman in the crowd holds a portrait of the prime minister. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:55 a.m.
“Which party toppled the Pol Pot regime?” Hun Sen asked the crowd at the CPP’s final campaign rally this morning. “Which party has the most achievements developing the country?”
The prime minister is speaking extensively about Pol Pot and the CPP’s role in removing his regime.
He also divulged the reason he broke with tradition to campaign today. He said it was in response to Facebook petitioners asking why he did not join the first CPP rally on May 20. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:50 a.m.
In what’s been described as his first campaign appearance in many years, Prime Minister Hun Sen admonished those from other countries whom he feels have meddled in Cambodia’s affairs. He said: “Foreigners: Do not interfere in government affairs.” (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:40 a.m.
Hun Sen is talking about the government’s effort to improve people’s incomes and standard of living. “All of the garment factory workers, you have jobs today because of the government, which is ruled by the CPP.” The prime minister also appealed to migrant workers, saying the government had worked hard to help them become legal in Thailand. (Chhorn Phearun/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 8:35 a.m.
Update: 8: 25 A.M.:
Hun Sen circled the crowd in his helicopter for several minutes. It then landed and he was driven to the stage on Hun Sen Boulevard in Phnom Penh. When he got out and mingled with the crowd in the scorching heat, the people swarmed to touch him or better yet, take a selfie. Early in his speech, the prime minister talked about the importance of this election. A win on Sunday is bigger than a commune chief, he says, adding it’s a win for the party and for the country.
Mr. Hun Sen, who was recently hospitalized in Singapore for extreme exhaustion, isn’t expected to speak long.
Update: 7: 55 a.m.:
Prime Minister Hun Sen is circling the crowd in his helicopter as they cheer. Tens of thousands of supporters out in the heat this morning. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Update: 7:43 a.m.:
Tens of thousands of CPP supporters have lined Hun Sen Boulevard, waiting for the man who gave it it’s name. With very heavy security, this is a much more carefully choreographed rally than the one Kem Sokha and the opposition held here two weeks ago, with significantly higher turnout. (Ben Paviour/The Cambodia Daily)
Please click on the link here to fully view:
—Commune Election 2017—
Yim Sovann, CNRP spokesman and president of the party’s executive committee.
—Commune Election 2017—
Sophal Ear, Policy analyst and author of ‘Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy’.
Voter loyalty can be rented, but it’s a bit like saying every man has a price. If every man has a price, then each bought election would result in the best outcome possible for a majority of people as they would get what they want. Instead, they get five measly dollars (as previously reported)? That seems totally inadequate given the cost of living.
A mercenary can be bought, but you wouldn’t want a mercenary army. If you run out of money, they walk out on you. Loyalty is a funny little thing. If you’re not loyal to them, why should they be loyal to you? And it can be fleeting. As you seek out loyalty for rent, you also realize that all the money you’re spending isn’t enough to erase all the other stuff you have been up to: like fake accident-making, like land-grabbing, like jailing people and throwing away the key.
These kinds of things voters don’t forget. Voters know right from wrong and while they may join the little get-together and take the $5, they still have eyes, ears and brains. Even 4-year-olds know right from wrong. Their mothers taught them.
Cham Bunthet, Political analyst and adviser to the Grassroots Democracy Party.
Voters might forget what their country’s leaders say. Voters might forget what their country’s leaders do. But voters will never forget how their country’s leaders make them feel.
People are feeling fed up with what’s been going on in their lives for the last 15 years after one unfulfilled promise after another. Most people I have talked to told me that they feel “enough with promises” made by the current ruling party and said a sarong (skirt for ladies) and 20,000 riel (about $5) or 30,000 riel (about $7.50) for a swear to vote for the ruling party could not buy them anymore. They would accept the gifts, but would vote for different parties.
I do not think voter loyalty can be bought, but loyalty can be rebuilt through proper and collective solutions to the existing crisis Cambodia and Cambodians have encountered.
I can say many voters are not loyal to any particular party (or parties); they just get upset, angry, feel hatred, and possess some desire to see changes in the country. The CPP can still have lot of chances to fix the crisis and rise up again in this political sphere.
Sok Eysan, CPP spokesman and lawmaker.
The loyalty of supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party can’t be bought.
It has never happened that supporters of the Cambodian People’s Party have left the party to join other parties due to political persuasion. There have never been any party members who have left the party to join other parties by political persuasion.
After becoming members of the party, [they] have been taught, mentally and politically, to build trust in the party that has ideals to love the nation and people. This is why there have never been any members of the Cambodian People’s Party leaving to join other parties. This is the firm stance of members of the Cambodian People’s Party.
Yim Sovann, CNRP spokesman and president of the party’s executive committee.
The short answer to this question is no.
We all have seen that some political parties have used vote-buying tactics, intimidation, harassment, cheating and other kinds of dirty tricks. They have used all the dirty tricks available in their dirty playbook—and it is a thick one.
The CNRP has always steered clear of using any kind of dirty tricks, and I would like to appeal to all political parties to stop resorting to dirty tricks. These kind of dirty tricks have no place in a real democracy. Let’s do clean rather than dirty politics.
Why is my answer to your question a no? Because I am convinced that people are more and more educated about the electoral process from one election cycle to another. People are becoming more and more politically conscious; that is what I am optimistic about.
People understand their rights and obligations and, above all else, they understand the “value” of their vote. They understand that their votes decide the future of the country, and the future of their children and grandchildren. There are even cases of people taking gifts from one political party and voting for another. I believe in my countrymen and that they will vote with their conscience.