Election Hush


The Psar Thmei (New Market/Central Market) just before noon Sunday – Election Day in Cambodia. The Market itself was designed in 1937 to resemble a Babylonian ziggurat, and I was happy to get a shot of the structure in daylight. Today there’s just a skeleton crew.

Without giving it much thought, I’d stepped out to do a few errands, but found the streets empty, nearly every store closed.

In contrast to the boisterous (and seemingly interminable) street caravans in the last few days, all is quiet. So quiet in fact, that it reminds me of Pchum Ben – most folks are at home or quietly hanging out, chatting. People seem in good spirits, and many have a radio or TV nearby to catch the news. That’s good – I’d rather have this feel like a holiday than anything else. Most offices are closed tomorrow too.

Why so quiet? In prior elections there has often been drama, and sometimes a little danger. I’m not surprised people have quieted down, though most seem to be enjoying exercising their right to vote – as can be seen from the number of ink-stained fingers.

I’ll be curious to see what the result is. Most pundits have the ruling Cambodian People’s Party tipped as the majority winner, but what’s less clear is what kind of support the minority parties will get. 2008′s ballot may bring some small surprises.


Postscript: Voice of America estimates National Assembly seats break down as follows: 85 Cambodian People’s Party, 34 Sam Rainsy Party, 2 Human Rights Party, 2 Norodom Ranarridh Party. Government media estimates slightly different: 87  Cambodian People’s Party, 32 Sam Rainsy Party, 2 Human Rights Party, 2 Norodom Ranarridh Party.

Please note these are preliminary results.

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3 Responses to “Election Hush”

  1. Tom Aarons says:

    That photo is just a little bit spooky. I’ll be posting a pate recipe for you this Wednesday. :) Tom

  2. Chris says:

    Really interesting stuff, you may be interested in checking out demotix.com given your unique opportunity sitting front row during Cambodia’s political situation.

    If you have any images or videos or Cambodia we’d love them over at demotix.com

  3. Jinja says:

    Thanks for the invite Chris, best of luck. I might suggest you add a ‘spell check’ feature to your site.

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