Sunday, August 4, 2013

Reality Check: The US Electoral System Vs. the Cambodia Electoral System

US Federal Election Commission, independence and professionalism

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

Election is the most common form used by the peoples around the world to choose their leaders to run the daily works for their country. However, in some countries, election is being manipulated by leaders or a group as a mean to legitimize their dictatorial rule. Namely,the election in Cambodia has been manipulated by the ruling party, the CPP in order to maintain their long term grip of power. In the Western Democracy, especially the US, the election process and results are nearly perfect and highly reflected to the will of American People. In contrast, the election process and the results in Cambodia are totally not reflected to the will of Cambodian people and so far away from western electoral standard. The following are the political and electoral systems of the the two countries.

The US Government and electoral systems:
-The form of government: Federal government with 50 states
-Political system: presidential system--the president is a head of state as well as the head of the government
-Electoral system: a single- member district:  only one seat to contest per district
-The president is elected every four years for two term limits from two major parties-- the Democrat and Republican with many smaller parties
-The senators are elected every six years and the House of Representative Members elected every two years without term limits.
-The electoral system is run by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Secretary of State in each of 50 states along with the State Canvasing Board
-The Federal election Commission administers and  enforces the election laws-- disclose financial information, limits and prohibition on contribution, and oversee public funding for presidential election.
-The FEC comprising of six members appointed by the President and confirmed by Senators to six years term.
-The Secretary of State in each state is the chief election officer and elected to four years term
-The Secretary of State is also the chair of the State Canvasing Board that has a duty to certify all election results.
-The State Canvassing Board has five members: two state supreme court judges, two district judges, and a Secretary of the State
-The Secretary of State works closely with county and local election officials, supervises vote registration, recount and other election disputes before going to court
-All ballots are counted by machines, any disputed result will be recount by hands
-The federal election Commission and the State election Boards are highly independent and professional up to standard and gain well trust from all parties and the people

The Cambodian Government and electoral systems:
-The form of government: parliamentary system, strong central government
-Political system: Constitutional Monarchy: The King is the head of state and the Prime minister is the head of the government
-Electoral system: proportional representation: many seats to contest per district
-The National assembly members and a Prime minister are elected every five years without term limit
-The Senators are elected every five years by the commune council members without term limit
-The electoral system is run by the National Election Committee (NEC), all nine members were appointed by the Ministry of Interior and confirmed by the National Assembly
-The NEC organizes and supervises the election process throughout  the country
-All ballots are counted by hands in each polling station before sending to the central offices
In reality:
-The NEC was created by the CPP as their tool to maintain their power grip
 -Invent a systematic electoral fraud to insure the continuous victory of the CPP
- Manipulate election results
-Create difficulty for registration and delete the names of people if suspected of opposition supporters
-Create ghost lists, double or triple names lists for the CPP  supporters to vote more than one time
-Help and accommodate all Vietnamese to vote while many Khmers have no names to vote
-Incompetent to solve all problems related to electoral disputes
-The NEC is totally controlled by the CPP and completely lost its trust from all parties and the people

     As we have seen and witnessed for over 20 years, the electoral system in Cambodia has been used by the CPP as their legitimate shield to cover up their dictatorial rule and Hanoi's interest in Cambodia. Should we allow and accept this broken, defective, and fraudulent electoral system to continue or should we do somethings to reform, to fix, or to dismantle it in order to create at least a more acceptable and tolerable system?

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