International Reports

Senatswahlen in Kambodscha (zu übersetzen)

by Alexander Wüpper

Ein weiterer Schritt im Prozess der Demokratisierung?

Since the Paris Peace Accord of 1991 and the constitution of 1993 Cambodia has been working hard becoming a democratic state. The first senate election on the 22nd of January 2006 could be another establishing a democracy. The Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia was founded in 1998 after the 2nd National Assembly election. After that election the National Assembly passed an amendment to the constitution, which added the Senate into the Cambodian legislative structure. The senators of the first legislative period were nominated by the parties, represented in the National Assembly at that time. Only in 2005 a Senate election law was set in forth, which stated then a non-universal election of the 57 eligible senators. All commune councils of the 1581 Cambodian communes as well as the members of the National Assembly were appealed for voting for the new senators. Four parties participated in the senate election: CPP, FUNCIN-PEC, SRP and KDP. The election campaign proceeded from the 31st of December 2005 until the 20th of January 2006 raising only little public debate and attention. The eligible candidates travelled through their respective provinces to commit the commune councilors to shared aims. The press coverage about the senate election was neutral and unemotional. The election itself took place without disturbance. As expected, the former strongest party in the Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia remains CPP. CPP holds 45 seats of the new Senate; followed by the coalition partner of CPP in the National Assembly, FUNCINPEC, with ten senators. SRP won only two seats in the 2005 Senate election.1)KDP received just 13 votes in total and won no mandate. Table 1: Results of the senate election 2006 (Number of seats) 2)CPP 45 FUNCINPEC 10 SRP 2 King 2 National Assembly 2 All commune councils in Cambodia are members of a party, most of them are members of the ruling CPP. From a legal point of view, the senate election on January 22nd is a further step towards the establishment of democracy in the country. In that endeavor the senate election law is significant as legal rules are the essential basis of a functioning democracy. However, the circumstances of the election, the incidents which took place in the last few months, do not allow such a positive conclusion. Leader of the democratic movement were arrested and accused for alleged defamation – they are meanwhile released from prison on bail. The leader of the opposition party, Sam Rainsy, was convicted in absentia to an 18 month imprisonment – he stays in exile and will not be eligible in the 2008 elections, if the verdict remains legally binding.3)So, in the puberty of the young Cambodian democracy, the country is on a tipping point. The next few months will show in which direction Cambodia will develop: undertaking a further step to a democratic country or turning back into an autocratic leadership. It is to hope for Cambodia, the democracy will undertake the next step.