PH hails globally condemned Cambodia elections
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines congratulated Cambodia on its "successful" national elections that the United States, Australia, and the European Union slammed for lack of credibility as it was held under a "restrictive" climate.
"On behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Filipino people, I wish to congratulate the Cambodian government and its people on the peaceful and orderly conduct of its recent national elections," Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement on Sunday evening, August 5.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is known for his authoritarian ways, is often compared to Duterte, known as "The Punisher" who ruled Davao City and is now ruling the Philippines with an iron fist.
Hun Sen's party was poised to win all 125 parliamentary seats after the flawed poll that will see the strongman extend his 33-year rule, cementing the country's status as a one-party state.
In a statement on July 30, the White House said that "the flawed elections, which excluded the country's principal opposition party, represent the most significant setback yet to the democratic system enshrined in Cambodia's constitution."
"The United States regrets that Cambodia’s July 29 parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people," the White House said.
The EU said in a separate statement that the Cambodian elections "took place in a highly restrictive political climate."
"The lack of genuine electoral competition and the absence of an inclusive political process mean that the July 29 election is not representative of the democratic will of the Cambodian electorate, and therefore its outcome lacks credibility," the EU said.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia "has serious concerns" about Cambodia's elections. Bishop said the polls "reversed more than 25 years of progress towards democracy in Cambodia."
"Australia is concerned the election took place in an environment where not all political parties, civil society organizations, and media could operate freely. Australia is disappointed that Cambodian people have been unable to freely choose their representatives," Bishop said.
Aside from the Philippines, one country that congratulated Cambodia was China. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com