This weekend was the commune elections here in Cambodia. My next door neighbor and friend, Manu, went as the diplomatic observer from the German embassy to the Kratie region. I went along for the ride. There is so much I want to say, but some of it I can’t and most of it I am too tired to put into complete sentences. So please forgive me, as this post will be in bullet form:
· On Friday the capital (I can only speak for Phnom Penh) was filled with little entourages of cars blaring propaganda about specific parties and carrying street loads of people waving the flag of that party. (Picture of one such caravan to come… perhaps tomorrow).
· From Friday midnight until the elections were completed on Sunday, text messaging for the entire country was disabled. In the past texting has been used as a way to coerce and pressure people.
· Businesses had to give workers off so that they could travel to home districts to vote.
· There was 1 candidate for ever 7 registered voters.
· Bus service was cancelled on the day of elections (this came as a surprise to Manu and I who needed to come home right after the election).
· Schools and pagodas (temples) were used as polling stations.
· Even today you can see the ink stains on the finger of everyone who voted.