Cambodian Election 3

There were no surprises in the vote totals in the national election two days ago. With the government banning the only real opposition party, the Cambodian People’s Party had a landslide victory. What may be a minor surprise is that they managed to lost 5 seats in the legislature, only getting 120.

And surprising initially but now probably confirmed by the constant repetition and lack of denial is the probability that Hun Sen, the current prime minister, will resign in four or five weeks to be replaced by his son Hun Manet. I suspect we will hear shortly some official or semi-official voices lauding the imminent transition.

Cambodian Election 2

It was certainly not a common occurrence but this ballot box was delivered by an elephant in on northern rural Cambodian province. The national elections were held Sunday, 23 July.

As was expected, since the ruling Cambodian People’s Party had the main opposition party banned, the CPP took 120 of the 125 seats in the legislature. Here is how the BBC reported the election:

Cambodian Election

[Photo: Khmer Times]

We are in the second day of a three-day holiday called for national elections. People must vote from their home villages but many, many people have migrated to the cities and jobs there. Transportation is slow and difficult to the provinces so the government decreed a Saturday holiday to get home before the Sunday elections and a Monday holiday to return to Phnom Penh or wherever they started from. And to make sure people realize how considerate the present ruling party is, the government made available 350 public buses to transport people to remote areas yesterday. Tomorrow, Monday, the buses will bring them back.

Collaboration with Caritas Cambodia

Maryknoll Cambodia has a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Cambodia that allows the Deaf Development Programme to operate legally in the kingdom. That MOU will end in December and today the management team of DDP met with the administration of Caritas Cambodia to see about DDP’s becoming part of Caritas Cambodia’s MOU.

The King and He

The new Vatican nuncio (ambassador) to Cambodia is Archbishop Peter Bryan Wells who is from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the United States. Today he met with King Sihomani at the royal palace to present his credentials.

I think I would be happy with a little less of the fancy dress and diplomatic niceties on the part of the church. We could probably carry out the mission of Jesus of loving each other without all that.

Human Rights

Today DDP was invited to a meeting at the UN office for Human Rights and it was quite an interesting and productive meeting. I am not aware of the UN Commission on Human Rights bringing us together before but today they talked about plans for a campaign to promote the human rights of people with disabilities. That is tricky in Cambodia. That type of advocacy is defined as conspiracy by some government officials.

What’s Cambodia Like #4?

I don’t intend to dwell only on the negative aspects of life and culture in Cambodia but there are so many of them. They certainly can’t be ignored in daily life.

It seems almost every day, literally, there is another story of some government official or military officer or village chief arrested for fraud, selling government land, appropriating land of indigenous peoples, cutting protected forests–you name it.