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US Elections Showed ‘Smooth’ Example: Observer

President Barack Obama addressed US Congress recently.
President Barack Obama addressed US Congress recently.

The recent midterm elections in US Congress that put the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives should serve as a good model for Cambodians on how power can be shifted smoothly, the head of a leading rights group said.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said that in Cambodia, that smoothness is not a trend yet.

“In Cambodia, a change of the political party in power at the National Assembly will have an impact on all politics,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

The US House commenced its work on Jan.5, with Republicans holding 242 of 435 seats, a majority.

“The Republicans believe that the government is too involved in people’s rights,” said Te Bouy, education program director at the US National Education Association. “So they want a law or policy that does not interfere much into citizen’s rights.”

Employment also played a crucial role in influencing voters, he said.

“No matter where the election is so long as we promote people to be owners of their fate and the country, this is the principle of democracy,” Ou Virak said.

A caller from Phnom Penh suggested that as Cambodia moves closer to the 2013 general election, politicians should learn from the US and refrain from violence by listening to constructive criticism.

“The ruling party should listen to others who are not in the race because they could see more,” said a caller who identified himself as Svay Rin. “They should not be mad at criticism.”

“We should also change our political culture,” Ou Virak said, in agreement.