Statement Overall and Ultimate Assessment on Commune Council Election for the 4th Mandate “Restrictions on Political Freedom and Limits to Fairness, but Improved Election Management”

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Statement Overall and Ultimate Assessment on Commune Council Election for the 4th Mandate “Restrictions on Political Freedom and Limits to Fairness, but Improved Election Management”

The Situation Room for the 2017 Election has concluded its overall assessment of the performance and management of the National Election Committee for the 2017 commune council elections. The Situation Room has found that the election process has been significantly improved and made more transparent than before, in terms of voter registration and voter list management, candidate registration, polling and counting processes, and the announcement of electoral results.   The conduct of the election campaign and electoral dispute resolution need to be improved.

No severe violence was observed or reported during the election. However, significant irregularities or issues occurred prior to the election which established a context that negatively impacted the fairness of the vote. They are an environment of political suppression, a lack of transparency and inequities in campaign finance, the misuse of state resources, an unequal playing field, the provisions of election laws and political party amendment law, a lack of an independent judiciary, the political partisanship of high-ranking military personnel, and the intimidation of civil society by officials from the security services that undermine liberal democratic pluralism. These problems combined to result in significant limitations on the quality of the poll, such that elections in Cambodia cannot yet be considered fully free and fair.

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