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EU suspends support for Cambodian election

Posted by pakin On December - 13 - 2017

PHNOM PENH: The European Union announced on Tuesday that it is suspending funding for Cambodia’s general election next year over the forced dissolution of the country’s main opposition party.

“In view of the decision by the Cambodian Supreme Court on 16 November to order the dissolution of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, the European Commission has decided to suspend its assistance to the National Election Committee,” said a press statement issued by the EU delegation to Cambodia.

“An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be seen as legitimate,” the statement said.

The decision to dissolve the CNRP, and the subsequent reallocation of its seats in the National Assembly to other parties, denies the choice of those who voted for the party, it added.

In the last general election in 2013, the CNRP won 55 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, against 68 seats captured by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The party was expected to do well in next year’s election.

Critics say the court’s verdict is only part of a wide-ranging crackdown on opposition politicians and independent media by Prime Minister Hun Sen for fear of losing the next election.

The EU’s move follows a similar suspension by the United States, which last month announced the termination of its support for the NEC.

NEC spokesman Sam Sorida told Kyodo News that the EU’s move will not affect the holding of the 2018 general election as the government has sufficient funds.

However, he acknowledged that any assistance would help reduce spending by the Cambodian government.


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