Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, issued the following statement on the elections held earlier this week in Cambodia. Despite irregularities, the elections are considered the most peaceful parliamentary elections in over 20 years for the country. Preliminary results kept Prime Minister Hun Sen in power by a narrow margin, but there were significant gains for the opposition. The opposition, however, claimed on July 31 that the ruling party did not win, and are demanding an impartial adjudication of the election results.
“The Cambodian people took a promising step toward true democracy on July 28 with their most peaceful national elections in over 20 years, with significant opposition gains. However, I remain deeply concerned about reported irregularities and other obstacles to full political participation and fair competition. The government must heed its people’s call for long-term reforms which will give them full confidence in their electoral process.
“The impartial adjudication of election results and thorough investigation of reported irregularities would be an important step toward transparency and credibility. Meanwhile, I urge all parties to continue to act peacefully during the post-election period.
“I look forward to the day that Cambodia’s citizens will be able to exercise freely their political rights in a truly inclusive, fair, and democratic electoral process. Respect for human rights is key to Cambodia’s long-term prosperity and stability.”