Since 1998, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has been engaged in Cambodia with the aim of building the capacity of institutions to conduct credible and fair elections. IFES supports both the election commission and civil society to strengthen Cambodia’s electoral framework and process. IFES also works to improve the engagement of women, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized voices in the political process.
In the previous cycle of Commune Council and National Assembly elections (2012/2013), IFES collaborated with the National Election Committee (NEC) and Cambodia’s Open Institute, to develop an interactive voice response system “election hotline” to provide information critical to participation in the election directly to voters. The hotline received 645,166 calls during the 2013 election period. IFES also supported local partners to increase public awareness about how and why to participate in the voter registration update processes, conducting public opinion research and working with the NEC and civil society to produce voter education campaigns directed at countering misconceptions. In collaboration with local partner Vicheasthan Bomreu Neak samrabsamroul Karngea akphiwat (VBNK), IFES developed the Women’s Leadership Program, which resulted in 490 women from 14 provinces receiving training to build their leadership capacity in elections. A majority of program alumnae applied their new skills as candidates, election officials or election monitors in the 2012 and 2013 national elections.
After Cambodia’s 2013 elections, IFES supported the efforts of the Electoral Reform Alliance, an alliance of 20 civil society organizations, to advocate for improvements to the country’s legal framework for elections. To ensure political participation of women and persons with disabilities in this important work, IFES collaborated with the Cambodia Disabled People’s Organization and the Committee to Promote Women in Politics, assisting their efforts to develop recommendations and to raise awareness about the need for more inclusive election laws.
Building on these efforts, IFES provided technical assistance to the NEC to support its efforts to proactively identify and reduce electoral integrity vulnerabilities, strengthen the electoral dispute resolution process and expand the inclusiveness of Cambodia’s 2017 Commune Council elections.