Cambodians who were unable to cast their votes in Sunday’s commune elections have blamed the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen for not doing enough to ensure they could get to a polling booth.
Prospective voters who felt disenfranchised told VOA Khmer on Monday that they had been unable to vote because of transportation issues and not being able to get time off work to travel to the constituencies where they were registered.
Others, such as Phnom Penh resident Sun Tola, said they were concerned for their safety as the roads were too busy and had decided to stay in Phnom Penh.
Voters called on the government to do more to ensure they would be able to vote in next year’s general election.
Hong Makara, who works in Phnom Penh but is registered to vote in Pursat province, about 10 hours away, said he could not vote because a family member had fallen ill and he had to go to seek medical care in Thailand.
“It’s very far from [Phnom Penh] to Pursat, so I missed my chance to vote,” he said. “In 2018, no matter what happens, I will definitely go to vote to elect my chosen leader to develop the nation. I don’t want things to be this way. It will be good if there’s a change.”
More than 7 million Cambodians are thought to have voted in Sunday’s poll, about 90 percent of the almost 8 million who registered.
Updated number of voter turnout by National Election Committee:
Most of those who had registered but did not vote were migrant workers who were unable to travel back home, according to election observers.
Yoeung Sotheara, a legal observer with election monitor Comfrel, said about 800,000 workers had been unable to travel, the majority of whom were migrants.
The CPP announced it had won some 1,158 seats compared with more than 400 for the opposition.