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Civil Society to Join in Election Monitoring

[Editor's note: In the weeks leading into national polls, VOA Khmer will explore a wide number of election issues. The "Election Issues 2008" series will air stories on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a related "Hello VOA" guest on Thursday. This is the second in a two-part series examining election monitors.]

Rights groups and other members of civil society will join election monitors as Election Day approaches, in an effort to ensure they are free and fair.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said the elections were important to all aspects of civil society, and his group has already begun its work.

“We have monitored from the registration period and will continue until after the elections,” he said. “Now we are monitoring the registration of political parties and their candidates.”

Comfrel will deploy 6,500 observers to monitor more than 15,000 polling stations.

Comfrel has joined up with the Youth Council of Cambodia to urge young activists to monitor TV and radio broadcasts, including the broadcasts of an “equity program” intended to give equal air time to each party during the election campaign.

Yang Kim Eng, director of the Youth Council of Cambodia, said his People’s Center for Development has created mobile education teams to help with the elections.

“We are taking part to monitor on Election Day because it is a very important day,” he said. “Moreover, we would cooperate with Comfrel to monitor after the election and would issue a joint communiqué to evaluate the election process.”