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NZ team to observe Cambodian election

NZ team to observe Cambodian election

Six New Zealanders leave for Cambodia over the next few days to monitor the general election there on July 27, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

The New Zealanders will form a team with 15 Canadians as part of an international group of 250 observers. It is the third time New Zealanders have been invited to observe polling in Cambodia since the United Nations-sponsored elections in 1993.

“The great thing is three members of the team – Sokha Mey, Bun Ung and Farib Sos – are Cambodian-born New Zealanders so they will be helping their country of birth as well as assisting New Zealand's international work," Mr Goff said.

“New Zealand has been a consistent supporter of Cambodia's move towards a more democratic society after its horrific recent history, and in the last five years we have contributed over $1.3 million to the electoral process.

"The support of New Zealand's development assistance agency, NZAID, helped complete the voters’ list, and 94 percent of Cambodians over 18 are now registered to vote.

“Our team will observe the final week of the election campaign and then monitor polling on Election Day to help ensure the integrity of the process."

Mr Goff said trade with Cambodia was small but interest was growing and several consultancies were pursuing work in the agricultural, roading and engineering sectors.

Cambodia has been a constitutional monarchy since the 1993 elections. King Norodom Sihanouk plays an important role in the political life of the country, particularly as a symbol of reconciliation and unification.

New Zealand's monitoring team is led by retired diplomat Doug Law and comprises Sokha Mey (NZAID programme manager), Bun Ung (Reserve Bank), Farib Sos (an academic and ex-Columbo Plan student), Steve Dowall (Foreign Affairs) and Serena Chui (Foreign Affairs).

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