Cambodia's new law bars politicians who don't vote from contesting polls
A landmark amendment to Cambodia's election laws will disallow politicians and government officials from running for office in future if they miss voting in prior elections
The national assembly of Cambodia passed an amendment to its election law on 23 June that will bar politicians or political officials who do not vote from running for office in future elections.
The revised bill also imposes a fine from 5 million riel ($1,200) to 20 million riel ($4,800) on anyone who prevents eligible citizens from casting their ballots, and the fine will be up to 30 million riel ($7,20) if the violator is from a political party, reported the Xinhua news agency.
Some 111 lawmakers in attendance unanimously approved the legal changes, which were initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week.
Deputy prime minister and interior minister Sar Kheng said the amendment was aimed at enhancing political leaders' responsibilities and ensuring non-disruptive elections.
"Going to vote or not going to vote is still the right of the Cambodian people and it is not compulsory," Sar Kheng said during the Assembly session.
"But for people wishing to stand for future elections, they must go to vote," he said, adding that otherwise "their right to run as candidates in any elections will be revoked".
The legal changes came just ahead of Cambodia's general elections for the 125-seat national assembly, scheduled for July 23.
According to the South-East Asian's nation's National Election Committee, 18 political parties will contest in the forthcoming election, with more than 9.7 million voters expected to cast their ballots.