Feature: Cambodians wish to see peace, more development after polls
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2013 - 4:00pm

KANDAL (Xinhua) - Cambodians lined up on Sunday at polling stations to wait for their turns to vote in the fifth general election, in which the party of longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen is widely expected to win an "absolute majority."

Voters say their most ardent desire is to see continued peace and more development after the elections in which the opposition party has repeatedly claimed "unfair" , alleging that the election body is controlled by Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

"I hope that there will be no troubles after the polls and I believe that all political parties will comply with people's wills,"  Kandal province resident Rea Van, 87, told Xinhua after casting his ballot.   

"I want to see continued peace and development," he said.

He said under incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen's leadership, the country has seen peace and political stability and enjoyed rapid development in all fields.

"I continue supporting him to lead this country," he said.

A female student at the Institute of Foreign Languages also supports Hun Sen's government for maintaining peace, political stability and rapid economic development.   

"I observe that the nation has seen a lot of progress under his leadership," Mao Monika, 21 told Xinhua after voting for the first time in her life. "I hope political parties would respect voters' decision. I don' t want to see any protests or violence when the results come out."

But not all are in favor of the ruling CPP of Hun Sen.   

"I want to see changes in leadership, which could bring more progress to the nation," Phnom Penh resident Nhet Saroeun, 49, told Xinhua after voting.

"I see slow development under the leadership of the current government," he said.

He said he voted for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of recently-pardoned leader Sam Rainsy.

Sam Rainsy, Hun Sen's main challenger, received a royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni for his 11-year jail term sentence on July 12. A week later, he returned to Cambodia after living in self-imposed exile in France for nearly four years to avoid the imprisonment.

Saroeun's view is shared by Ma Sopheap, 46, who also voted for the CNRP.

"Change is likely to bring the nation more development, I want a change," she said.

Eight political parties are contesting in the Sunday's elections with around 9.67 million eligible voters and about 40, 456 national and international observers, according to the National Election Committee.

Two major players are Hun Sen's ruling party and Sam Rainsy's party.

Sam Rainsy said on Saturday that his party did not expect that the election would be free and fair, alleging irregularities and ballot-rigging.

"Sunday's election is a foregone conclusion," Sam Rainsy told a delegation of foreign observers in a meeting. "The result of this election has been determined-known before the voting day."

Preliminary results of the polls will be announced Sunday evening.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen's party will most likely win the elections with an absolute majority due to its financial resources and long-standing relationship with the people, especially in the rural areas," Dr. Chheang Vannarith, executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace told Xinhua.

One of the world's longest-serving leaders, Hun Sen, 61, has been in power for 28 years and vowed to rule the country for at least another decade.

The country holds a general election in every 5 years. In the last election in July 2008, Hun Sen's party won 90 seats out of the 123 seats in parliament, the opposition group won a total of 29 seats, and the royalist group gained 4 seats.   
 

CAMBODIA NATIONAL RESCUE PARTY ELECTION HUN HUN SEN PARTY PRIME MINISTER HUN SEN SAM RAINSY SEN XINHUA
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