The interior minister on May 26 received a four-member delegation led by the EU ambassador to discuss the general situation surrounding the June 5 commune council elections and ongoing campaign season, according to his ministry.
Minister of Interior Sar Kheng thanked the EU for its support in Cambodia's first commune elections back in 2002, adding that the current vote is “organised based on the timeline of the mandate”, the ministry said in a Facebook post.
The vote aims to build a multi-party democracy from the grassroots and develop a sense of “ownership” among locals, he said, voicing pride in Cambodians’ increasing understanding of the electoral system and associated matters.
The minister expects the election to proceed smoothly without any major obstacles, which he says will reflect the will of the people as stated in the constitution vis-a-vis a multi-party democratic system.
Sar Kheng said the interior ministry and National Election Committee (NEC) will ensure security, and that the elections are free and fair.
The interior minister and EU diplomats also exchanged views on future cooperation in electoral matters as well as official visits to support Cambodian democracy based on the constitution and applicable laws.
He also called on the EU to continue their support for ongoing decentralisation and deconcentration reforms to reshape the scope of powers that local authorities possess, as well as for training programmes to help them better serve their people and develop their communities, according to the post.
Meanwhile at a May 27 meeting with relevant stakeholders, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea reported that 33 complaints had been lodged to commune council commissions in the first six days of the campaign season – which kicked off on May 19 and will continue until June 3.
He said that seven had been resolved, one received a response and clarification by the respective committee, one was withdrawn, and the others were in the process of being solved.
Puthea said six complaints could not be resolved by compromise, and that four of them had been forwarded to the corresponding municipal or provincial election committee for further action.