Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on Japan, its largest bilateral donor, to send “experts” and help in reforming the Southeast Asian country’s electoral system. The Cambodian leader’s request comes at the heels of a two-day official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Phnom Penh over the weekend. Hun had revealed that he had requested the technical assistance for these reforms during their bilateral talks on Saturday, but he did not elaborate on what this “help” might mean in practice.
“Cambodia has requested Japan’s help related to the reformation of elections,” Hun said at the joint press conference after the summit meetings between the two leaders. “I would like to request that Prime Minister Abe consider sending experts or technicians to join the reform of the upcoming election,” Hun had added. At a briefing later that night, Cambodian officials said that while Abe would actually be in favor of such a request, Hun had not brought up any specific reforms in the meeting between the two leaders.
The transitioning nation has just undergone national elections in July this year. The Cambodian National Election Committee’s official results showed that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won 68 seats and the Cambodia National Rescue Party won 55 seats. According to independent observers and especially the opposition, there was widespread electoral fraud during July’s polls. Japan and Cambodia, upon Abe’s visit, have inked various agreements, including one that strengthens maritime security cooperation between the two countries.
[via Phnom Penh Post]