Elections and Voting Rights

 

NGO-CEDAW observer (in blue, left) watching ballot count in 2017 local election

Election Calendar:

Voter registration for the next national elections has closed.  An additional 530,000 Cambodians were added to the registration list from September 1, 2017 through November 9, 2017.  The total number on the list  is now approximately 8.3 million out of an estimated 9.8 million eligible voters, or 85%.  Approximately 1 million unregistered voters are primarily migrant workers unable to travel to Cambodia to register.  Voting or registration from outside the country is forbidden.  According to the National Election Committee (NEC), some areas, such as Kandal province, only had 40% of eligible voters registered, in part due to high numbers of migrant workers.

The national elections will be held in Cambodia on July 29, 2018.

All voters will be required to have an official Khmer ID card to vote in the national election.

No provision has yet been made to permit Cambodians working or living in other countries to vote. This affects approximately 3 million Cambodian citizens.

No provision has yet been made to allow time off of work for citizens to travel to their home provinces to vote. (Many Cambodians work 6 days a week and must leave a day early to reach their hometown before Election Day.)

Several political parties, including the main opposition party, were dissolved in 2017. Approximately 20 parties, most small and newly formed, plan to participate in the election.

Election Monitoring by NGO-CEDAW:

On 4 June 2017 the commune elections were held in Cambodia.  NGO-CEDAW trained and deployed almost 600 election observers to polling stations on Election Day.  NGO-CEDAW previously conducted election observation for the 2013 national elections. The report can be read here: English version.

Election monitoring is important to the advancement of gender equality in Cambodia because women have been under-represented in elected office and in other decision-making positions. Encouraging  the  full  participation  of  women  at  all  levels  of  democracy,  starting with voter participation and election monitoring is part of a strategy to improve women’s equal participation in the political process.

In 2016, all voters (including those who voted in the past) were required to register to vote between September 1, 2016 and November 29, 2016 in order to vote in the local elections. Approximately 8 million voters were registered, out of an estimated 9.8 million eligible Cambodians.

Background on Election Laws:

In 2015, the Cambodian government passed new laws on the National Election Committee and on national and local elections.  NGO-CEDAW wrote analyses of the election laws passed in early 2015. You can read them here in English. LEMNA analysis;  NEC Analysis

All of the election laws have been amended since this analysis was written. Some laws were amended up to 3 times in 2017 alone.  It should be noted that in none of the amendments were provisions made to promote the inclusion of women in elected or appointed public office.