Observers to monitor Cambodia elections after calls for boycott

Observers to monitor Cambodia elections after calls for boycott

Cambodia's government announced about 220 observers from 52 countries will oversee elections set to take place on Sunday as the beleaguered opposition urged voters to boycott. "They all have experience in monitoring elections in various countries," Kem Reat Viseth, head of the government commission coordinating election monitors, told a news briefing on Tuesday. "They will speak the truth from what they see."

However, some of the organisations have been criticised by analysts as being "fake election observation groups". "The Cambodian government is attempting to use these 'shadow' observation groups as a substitute for the withdrawal of professional observation groups, such as the European Union," Lee Morgenbesser, a researcher on elections held by authoritarian regimes in Southeast Asia. "This is a sign of how the election utterly lacks credibility."

The criticism was dismissed by a government spokesperson who said the "foreign monitors are good friends who come to observe the elections". "They evaluate and they don't have political motives, as raised by this professor," the spokesperson added.

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