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Cambodian voters hope local polls could bring good leaders to their communes

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-04 14:45

Cambodian voters hope local polls could bring good leaders to their communes

Cambodia's Prime Minister and president of Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Hun Sen looks at the ballot box after casting his vote during local elections in Kandal province, Cambodia June 4, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

KANDAL, Cambodia - Since early Sunday morning, Cambodian voters have queued at polling stations across the country, waiting their turns to cast ballots in the 4th commune elections.

Cambodians are confident that their votes will bring good leaders to their villages and communes.

"The election is crucial to electing good commune chiefs and councilors who care about the people and devote their physical and mental energies to commune and village development," 56-year-old businesswoman Seang Chantheng told Xinhua after casting her vote at a polling station in the southern Kandal province.

She revealed that she voted for the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) since the party has brought full peace and development to the country.

"The party I trust, the party I have always supported is the Cambodian People's Party and today I voted for the party," she said.

Eang Dane, 19, a high-school student in the capital of Phnom Penh, said she also cast her ballot for the CPP and believed that only leaders from the CPP could bring real development to the grassroots people.

"It was the first time I have voted, I'm really happy," she told Xinhua after voting at a station in Phnom Penh. "I love the CPP because the party has brought peace and development to our country."

Dane was confident that the CPP would continue to win the elections for further development in communes and villages, especially the development of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Kim Sokhonn, a 46-year-old housewife who voted at a polling station in Kandal province, said she felt free to vote for the party she liked, and there was no intimidation.

"I hope that all political parties will accept the election results. I don't want to see the situation like it was in 2013," she told Xinhua, referring to the national elections in July 2013 in which the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) did not recognize the election results and staged mass protests for months.

Twelve political parties have contested in Sunday's elections, with the ruling CPP and the opposition CNRP being the major contestants, according to the National Election Committee (NEC).

CPP President and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen voted at a polling station near his mansion in Kandal province, roughly 10 km south of the capital on Sunday, while CNRP President Kem Sokha cast his ballot in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen said during an election campaign on Friday that he was confident that the CPP would continue to win the majority in the polls.

"There is only the CPP that has sufficient capacity to govern Cambodia and to maintain the country's peace and development," he said, adding that the party has more than 5 million members.

Approximately 7.87 million eligible voters are expected to vote in the elections which are held to elect 11,572 commune chiefs and councilors for the kingdom's 1,646 communes.

The preliminary election results are expected on Sunday evening and the official results will be released 21 days after the votes.

Held every five years, the commune elections are seen as a bellwether of the ruling party's support ahead of the national elections in July 2018.

In the last commune elections in June 2012, the CPP gained 61.9 percent of the votes, compared to about 30.6 percent for the opposition.

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