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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

FINAL REPORT ON ELECTORAL MONITORING PROCESS FOR 29 JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

30 July 2018 Report issued for the general public on 10 August 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

I. INTRODUCTION.................................................................................... 4 II. GENERAL ASSESSMENT....................................................................6 III. ELECTION CLIMATE ANALYSES ..................................................11 A. FACT FINDING....................................................................................11 B. LEGAL FRAMEWORK........................................................................12 C. ELECTION SUPERVISION AND ADMINISTRATION.................... 14 D. PROCEDURES FOR CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND REGISTRY................................................................................................. 15 E. POLITICAL BACKGROUND...............................................................16 F. ELECTORAL APPLICATIONS............................................................17 G. CAMPAIGN AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE. ANTI MONEY LAUNDRY PROVISIONS .............................................18 H. CIVIC SOCIETY....................................................................................19 IV FINAL CONCLUSIONS ON ELECTION OBSERVATION...............22 a. Pre-election period b. The intervention of H.M. Norodom Sihamoni c. Conclusions on elections d. Terrorism threats and disinformation campaigns e. Election Day/Opening/Counting/Tabulation f. CONCLUSIONS ON PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION IN CAMBODIA......................................................................................30 ANNEXES....................................................................................................33

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

FINAL MONITORING REPORT ON THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION

ELECTORAL ASSESSMENT

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

According to an official invitation from the National Election Committee of The Kingdom of Cambodia to observe the 29 July 2018 parliamentary election, the European Council on International Relations, Parliamentary Assembly for Sustainable Development Goals, Europe and Asia Conference, World Electoral Monitors Organization, all signatory of the Act for Transparent and Peaceful Elections hereinafter presented as the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM decided to evaluate the political, judicial, legislative

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS and general framework of the National Assembly election slated for 29 July 20181. The aim of the evaluation process was to assess the pre-election environment and the preparations for the parliamentary election.

The evaluation process comprised in legislative text analyses, assessment of the general political situation in the country and the conformity with general accepted democratic practices and regulation and with bona fide principles.

Taken into account were also: public opinions, statements and discussions expressed by officials from different Cambodian institutions and the election and civil administration, as well as official spokespersons from political parties, media outlets, civil society personalities, and the international community2.

1

https://centruldiplomatic.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/election-monitoring-website-dedicated-to-cambodias-

parliamentary-elections-july-2018-unveiled/ 2

https://cambodian-elections.yolasite.com/

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

160.000 election monitors had taken part in the complex process of monitoring Cambodia`s July 29, 2018 Elections.

II. GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF LAW PROVISIONS

The International Electoral Monitoring Team conducted a Pre-Election Assessment Analysis for the Kingdom of Cambodia in order to assess the country compliance with the framework of human rights and internationally respected electoral conditions in the country prior to the holding of the July 29, 2018, VIst National Assembly Elections.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS According with the law prescriptions, the National Assembly vote will start on 29 July 2018, giving the voters the chance to elect the National Assembly for a full constitutional term.

The law encapsulates also the necessary democratic prescriptions for an open and fair electoral process3.

July 29,2018, election will be the sixth consecutive national election called on legal bases, a supplementary proof of a democratic and viable electoral system.

The principles that are governing the parliamentary elections are governed by the Constitution, the Constitutional Law on Elections (Election Law), and regulations of the National Election Committee (NEC)4.

The assessment process considered that Cambodia is a viable and fully committed party to all major international and regional instruments related to the holding of democratic elections and had continuously and full abiding by his international democratic regulations.

INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM had found that: the law and regulations governing the electoral process in Cambodia are 3

https://cambodian-elections.yolasite.com/National-Election-Committee.php

4

http://iricer.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45708432-cambodia-makes-incredible-strides-to-guarantee-free-

elections-in-2018

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS completely corresponding to international laws and regulation insuring a perfect electoral process5.

The authorities of Cambodia underlined in all public statements their nation commitment to conduct elections in compliance with the principles of openness, transparency and fairness6.

The election will be administered by a complex and modern system of commissions, composed of a National Election Committee and including a number of Territorial Election Commissions and the City Election Commissions, District Election Commissions, and Local Election Commissions (LECs). The National Election Committee composition and activity is fully independent and in perfect correspondence with international laws and regulations insuring the independence of electoral and monitoring process7.

The international community from government and INGO`s and CSO`s from Asia and Europe have expressed their support for the July 2018 Elections through financial assistance and deployment of observers.

5

https://centruldiplomatic.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/cambodias-national-elections-committee-ensures-

free-and-fair-2018-poll/ 6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKXgsi4_gmk

7

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6l9ufd

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Other international actors such as the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) and the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI)and a host of electoral monitoring institutions from China, Myanmar and other ASEAN member countries will observe the elections and support the democratic process in the country.

We have to appreciate the Japanese Government continuing financial support to the NEC, and that South Korean Government continues to offer training to the NEC on voter education.

The current members of the NEC are: H.E. Mr. Sik Bun Hok, the Chairman, H.E. Mr. Nuth Sokhom, the Vice-Chairman, and members: H.E Mr. Mean Satik , H.E Mr. Dim Sovannarom , H.E Mr. Duch Sorn , H.E Mr. Hing Thirith , H.E Mr. Em Sophath, H.E Mr. Hel Sarath and H.E Mr. Hang Puthea.

The current composition of the NEC is a perfect illustration of the non-biased and inclusive character of the organization.

NEC was appreciated for its significant progress in organizing 2017 Communal and Sangkat Council Elections and 2018 Senate Elections, and all these successes offered the necessary guarantees that this year's general elections would be also free and fair.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS One of the hallmarks of electoral integrity is a non-partisan, neutral election management body.

The NEC fully meets the requirements for an independent and impartial Electoral Management Body.

Independent media stakeholders have expressed their support for the NECNational Electoral Committee decision to create an open, fair and transparent environment for media involved in election process and appreciated the improving mass media landscape in the Kingdom after the shutdown of the fake news mill of Cambodia Daily and the restructuring of Phnom Penh Post had given hope that the media will stop acting of foreign agendas and to support violence and a campaign of disinformation in the country. All international actors have also expressed their satisfaction with the composition and management of the National Election Committee (NEC). The management body is widely perceived as free and independent and able to provide a competing and free environment for electoral processus .

The Election Law guarantees the right to conduct an unimpeded campaign for or against any candidate.

In the democratic landscape of Cambodia, the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM noted the existence of a powerful

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS independent media, with an impressive number of mass media entities operating in the country. Also a full independent televisions network is offering a perfect dialogue and information source. The Cambodian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and prohibits censorship.

Keeping in mind that no elections can be considered as free and democratic without the presence of international observers the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM decided to support Cambodian electoral process and democratic credential by monitoring and observing all stages of the 2018, 29 July, Parliamentary election in Cambodia.

The INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM has monitored the full electoral process, candidate registration, and the campaign, media, and Election Day procedures with an on-site mission during the period of 22 July-2 August 2018.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS III. ELECTION CLIMATE ANALYSES

A. FACT FINDING Cambodia is a fully flagged democratic kingdom, respecting the equilibrium of powers and balanced distribution of constitutional powers8.

The National Assembly is acting in full respect of the democratic system and the country has a long tradition of political process in a democratic manner and with all the guarantees for an inclusive and democratic process.

The institutional system is offering a perfectly balanced voice to parliamentary and representations system9. The 29 July 2018, Parliamentary election where convened in a perfect transparent and inclusive manner at the request of the responsible and democratic institution in the country: National Election Committee.

The democratic initiative for a parliamentary election was supported by the Cambodian Parliament and, on 25 February, the Cambodian National Assembly announced the election would be held on 29 July 2018. As we have mentioned previously the next election will be the sixth consecutive national election in the kingdom recent democratic history. 8

https://centruldiplomatic.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/the-full-list-of-the-20-parties-taking-part-in-

cambodias-general-election-july-2018/ 9

http://eucir.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45751730-dim-sovannarom-national-election-committee-cambodia-

is-a-multi-party-democracy-

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

On 27 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia stressed the nation’s commitment to conduct a free and fair election in line with the principles of openness, transparency and fairness.

The INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM considers that the electoral process is fundamental, in law provisions and spirit and in technical consideration perfectly administered, offering a perfect climate and an open and inclusive and in full fairness political discourse resulted in a perfect competitive electoral environment.

B. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Regarding the previous respect to democratic commitments, the Kingdom of Cambodia has fully respected his international obligations regarding construction of a free electoral consultation.

We must note that: INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM has made an in-depth analysis of the electoral law and constitutional framework of the Kingdom of Cambodia during 2018 Senate elections.

In the focus of this analysis where: the mass media law, the election law, the political laws and the Constitutional Law of Cambodian and had operated a

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS surveillance of the measure taken by the National Election Committee in order to ensure a free and open election atmosphere.

The conclusion of the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM was that: the necessary steps in order to ensure an honest and balanced electoral consultation respecting democratic standards were taken by Government of Cambodia.

The conclusions of the committee findings can be summon up as an endorsement of the law and constitutional provisions of the Cambodian electoral system.

In the 29 July 2018, the same principles and laws are applying as in 2018 Senate elections case.

The primary legal framework for parliamentary elections includes the Constitution, the Constitutional Law on Elections (Election Law), and regulations of the National Election Committee (NEC).

Other relevant laws include the Law on the National Assembly, the Law on Political Parties, the Civil Procedures Code, the Criminal Code, the Administrative Offences Code, the Law on Peaceful Assemblies, and various local regulations related to public assemblies.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Cambodia is a party to major international and regional instruments related to the holding of democratic elections.

President Dr. Anton Caragea, the Head of International Election Monitors Team for Cambodia 2018 Elections.

C. ELECTION SUPERVISIONS AND ADMINISTRATION

The election will be administered by a four-layer system of election commissions.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The election administration comprises the NEC, Territorial Election Commissions and the District Election Commissions (DECs), and Local Election Commissions (LECs) .

The Kingdom of Cambodia had acquiesced to the following instrumental accords for upholding democratic values: the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1979 Convention for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 2003 Convention against Corruption, etc.

Membership and submission to all the previously noted agreements and treaty are creating a perfect election environment in accordance with international laws.

D. PROCEDURES FOR CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND REGISTRY

The Constitution and electoral law are offering the climate for an inclusive and representative participation in the electoral race: the National Assembly candidate may be nominated through self-nomination or by a public association, including a political party.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The necessary prescriptions for barring from standing for office of persons related to crimes, or found guilty of corruption-related crimes or administrative offenses have being taken.

In Cambodia, there are currently 38 political parties registered with the Ministry of Interior. These parties, in order to contest the elections, will have to register with the NEC as well.

As of May 23, 2018, there are 20 political parties who were successful in their registration with the NEC, ensuring the inclusion of their party on the elections list.

The 20 registered parties for the upcoming parliamentary election include Cambodian People`s Party- CPP, Cambodian Youth Party, Cambodian Nationality Party, Khmer National United Party, FUNCINPEC Party, Khmer United Party, Grassroots Democracy Party, New Light Party, Beehive Social Democratic Party, League for Democracy Party, Khmer Anti-Poverty Party, Dharmacracy Party, Kingdoman Democratic Party, Our Motherland Party, Khmer Rise Party, Khmer Economic Development Party, Khmer Will Party, Khmer Kingdoman Party, Reaksmey Khemra Party, and Cambodia Indigenous People Democracy Party10.

10

http://www.akp.gov.kh/archives/132864

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The existing parties were able to organize themselves, most of them on a nationwide coverage, offering the multi-party cadre of a functional democracy.

E. POLITICAL BACKGROUND

Throughout the recent democratic Cambodian experience, the governing party, the Cambodian People`s Party (CPP) has based its legitimacy on democratic credential, free and fair elections, popular mandate and has grown to be the country main political force for progress based on his achievements like: liberating the country, ending the Khmer Rouge rule, bringing lasting peace and stability, and outstanding economic development to a war-torn nation.

Under C.P.P. rule Cambodians had enjoyed steady economic growth, social, educational and health system continuous improvements and have greater access to information. Urban migration and the proliferation of internet access and social media networks such as Facebook have fostered awareness of the political issues, for example, Prime Minister Hun Sen is one of the most followed world leaders on social networks. The Prime Minister Hun Sen’s leadership has also strengthened the country’s democracy, enacted a system of rule of law and respect towards social norms while pushing for development and modernization.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Cambodian People`s Party popularity has withstood all electoral test in recent years.

F. ELECTORAL APPLICATIONS.

The time for submission of applications for participation in the parliamentary election in Cambodian ended and the electoral campaign started on July 9th 2018. Conclusion: Under the full scrutiny of the democratic process in Cambodia, INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM considers that the period of registrations of candidature and the provisions of the law have being fully respected and all the necessary procedural steps have being address ensuring a perfect democratic character to the first phase of the election procedures.

Recommendation: The Election Monitoring Committee of INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM considers that a high number of signatures on the candidate’s signature list will be a beneficial addition offering a better selection of serious candidates.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS G. CAMPAIGN AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE. ANTI MONEY LAUNDRY PROVISIONS

On May 23, the NEC had announced that 20 political parties had been accredited for this year's elections and, out of 25 constituencies, 9 parties are contesting all 25 constituencies. The election campaign starts on July 7th , the day after the end of candidate registration, and lasts until 27 July , when the silence period starts.

The Election Law guarantees citizens and public associations the right to conduct an unimpeded campaign for or against any candidate.

Local authorities are mandated to provide space for the placement of campaign posters on an equal basis and candidates may also post materials on TV, radio and print media.

Conclusions: The INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM stated that ensuring transparency and strict supervision policies are all decisions destined to discourage money laundry, political corruption and in offering a fair and equal based financial support for all candidates, a fundamental base of democratic elections.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The Election Law is the main legal source addressing candidate rights to campaign in the media, providing equal access to airtime and print space.

H. CIVIL SOCIETY.

The role of civil society in elections often takes the form of support for the institutional processes of democratic elections as well as the more substantive development of a democratic electorate.

Freedom of association and freedom of expression are very basic principles in a democratic society. Indeed, the Cambodian constitution enacted in 1993 and amended in 1999 created a democratic system that showed respect for the norms of universal human rights.

With respect to the forthcoming elections, many civil society organizations and voters have expressed full trust in the ongoing election preparations.

From the time of its first democratic elections in 1993 to our day, Cambodia has gradually become home to one of the most open and vibrant media and civil society environments in Southeast Asia.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The atmosphere of the 2018 pre-election period is tensed on the account of incredible pressures in favor of an outlawed party, with appeals to boycott and attempts to block electors to express their will via the ballot boxes.

This atmosphere of threats against the legal government, the National Electoral Committee and the main political parties is counterbalanced by the national enthusiasm and vibrancy of civil society and political parties dedicated activity and the determination of the authorities to carve out the 2018 elections, as the most democratic election in the country.

Months prior to the elections, the International Electoral Monitoring Team saw unlawful activities destined to create a sense of disenfranchisement among stakeholders and voters and attacks against various political parties (especially Cambodian People`s Party-CPP) and against the government. The Kingdom legal courts had concluded that: these activities were part of a programmed coup d’Êtat by the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

After the dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) the situation in the country has experienced a rapid improvement in terms of dialogue, optimism and trust in the political process.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS With the absence of the threats and violence from the political arena a line of rapidly developing opposition party had flourished demonstrating the Kingdom political vitality and democratic prowess.

A line-up of civil society organizations had also sprung up supporting the country democratic actions and created a high degree of freedom and competitiveness in the elections process.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

IV. FINAL CONCLUSIONS ON ELECTION OBSERVATION

One of the most important aspects in organizing internationally recognized and valid electoral process is the presence of international and internally accepted monitors.

According to National Election Committee, a number of over 160.000 internal and international registered observers will be surveying the poll and will also ensure a countrywide supervision of the electoral process11.

The Cambodian Election Law provides for international and citizen observers, as well as authorized representatives of registered candidates.

There is an accreditation procedure and observers are required to present a letter from their nominating organization and their identification documents to the election commission where they will observe the process12.

We consider that the electoral system is offering the checks and balances necessary to ensure a perfect democratic consultation13. 11

http://www.akp.gov.kh/archives/132808

12

http://eucir.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45794828-european-election-observer-mission-to-take-part-in-

cambodian-national-elections-2018-monitoring 13

http://eucir.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45713452-international-observers-are-prepared-for-2018-

cambodia-s-national-election

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS ■■■

The evaluation panel has taken under consideration opinions and statements from members of recognized and lawfully established human rights organizations, political parties, media persons, academics, diplomats, intergovernmental organizations etc.

This evaluation panel report is also based on an extended analysis of relevant political and legal literature reviews, interviews, press articles and expert interviews.

a. PRE-ELECTION PERIOD

The INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM consider that: the pre-election period was marked by full transparency, honesty and a calm electoral climate conducive to an all-inclusive electoral climate.

b. THE INTERVENTION OF HIS MAJESTY PREAH BAT SAMDECH PREAH BOROMNEATH NORODOM SIHAMONI- KING OF CAMBODIA

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Despite the international community unanimous voice in praising the elections environment on the Kingdom of Cambodia as conducive to free and impartial elections some interested parties desirous in seeding havoc and conflict, continued to raise questions and to try to falsely present the realities of the Kingdom14.

In front of a media slur and outrageous misinformation campaign, destined to taint Cambodia`s people and authorities determination to host free, equal opportunity and transparent elections, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni has the final say15, closing any honest debate on the subject: The Kingdom will enjoy free and fair elections and the people of Cambodia will have the full opportunity to express their views and decision for the country direction and leadership.

The royal message writes that: “On this occasion, I would like to solemnly call for all eligible voters to cast their ballots in order to elect national leaders for development and glorious progress in all fields16�.

14

http://eucir.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45794858-international-democratic-community-offers-plaudits-to-

h-m-king-norodom-sihamoni-for-defending-democratic-and-free-elections-in-cambodia 15

http://iricer.webs.com/apps/blog/show/45751675-his-majesty-preah-bat-samdech-preah-boromneath-

norodom-sihamoni-king-of-cambodia-july-2018-election-will-be-free 16

https://centruldiplomatic.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/h-m-king-norodom-sihamoni-weights-in-cambodia-is-

having-free-and-fair-elections/

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS We consider that in the parliamentary election (29 July 2018) pre-election campaign Cambodian has fulfilled all his legal obligation on holding open, free, and fair and equal opportunity driven elections17.

The conclusion of the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM is that: the necessary steps in order to ensure an honest and balanced electoral consultation respecting democratic standards were fully taken by The Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia. As a result on 3th July 2018, the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM18 decided to deploy an election mission to follow the Election Day process countrywide and to supervise the Election Day activities, including voting, counting, and tabulation of results.

We must also underline that: election commissions at all levels handled technical aspects of the election in a professional manner in the pre-election and election period.

Their sessions were openly and transparently monitored by observers and the media.

17

https://medium.com/world-and-tourism/cambodia-s-july-29-elections-promises-to-be-the-most-

democratic-and-open-i-country-s-history-1a535b4a7bc3 18

https://medium.com/revista-de-politica-externa/international-community-launching-website-for-

monitoring-cambodian-general-elections-2018-48003718d1e8

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

c. CONCLUSIONS ON ELECTIONS AND POLITICAL CONTEXT:

The political environment in Cambodia is characterized by the presence of strong political parties with national scale activities, with genuine pluralism and a vibrant political discourse.

NGOs operate in a permissive environment, and after 2017 reform bill that is providing supplementary supervision for NGO`S, offering opportunities for personal and institutional development and improving the sphere of activity for all NGO`s bodies, in such a manner that they can fulfill their role in providing quality services for Cambodian citizens.

Cambodian is enjoying a system that is open and full of liberty and the reform on NGO`s field has allowed Cambodian to obtain high-quality services from the area of civil society.

From what the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM gathered there are many reasons to hold the opinion that the coming elections in Cambodia will be “free and fair” as the stakeholders believe and the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM can cite a few opinions: 1. The fundamental civil and political rights in the country are observed 2. Independent media is supported and in free activity across the nation.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

This mission report concludes by saying that the coming elections 2018 have all the legal, constitutional framework and general atmosphere as conducive to transparent, free, fair and democratic valid polls. d. CAMBODIA NATIONAL RESCUE PARTY TERRORISM CAMPAIGN A strange factor was the emergence on the election campaign of the terrorist outfit: CNRP- Cambodia National Rescue Party19 who launched a vicious campaign of manipulation in internal and international media. Threats to the voters, illegal call for boycott and rumours about the use of a poisonous ink used to identify voters and prevent second voting where among the scare tactics f the terrorist organization lead by San Rainsy, Kem Sokha and Mu Sochua20. The illegal so called opposition was involved in buying international media articles21, launching fake news campaign in propaganda mouthpiece such as BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters and they tried to intimidate authorities and international observers and to prevent the holding of free elections. We must note that all these attempts had failed miserably22. 19

https://medium.com/revista-de-politica-externa/cambodia-election-2018-lessons-confronting-cnrp-

cambodia-national-rescue-party-and-sam-rainsy-20c23af39ca2 20

https://centruldiplomatic.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/cnrp-cambodian-national-rescue-party-recognized-

as-a-terrorist-outfit/ 21

http://www.atimes.com/article/cambodia-exiles-bid-buy-influence-washington/

22

https://europeaninternationalrelation.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/sam-rainsy-and-cambodia-national-

rescue-party-or-the-zombie-opposition-in-cambodias-2018-elections/

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS We recommend Cambodian authorities to take in the future the necessary legal actions for the arrest and extradition to the country to face the full rigors of the law of the terrorist groups affiliated to CNRP, CNRM and other criminal organizations.

e. ELECTION DAY Election Day was calm, with no obstacle in the voting process and open to all electors in a transparent manner and a turnout of almost 82,17% percent was reported.

f. OPENING OF POLLING STATION AND VOTING

Opening procedures were assessed positively in most polling stations visited. The voting was done in a normal manner, no signs of forced presence, coerced presence or suspicious persons or any control of voters were not observed.

The lack of any coercion in electoral activities was clearly marked.

No electoral tourism or mass migration of electors from one electoral station to another was registered.

There where also some shortcomings as: voters who did not know how to act on electoral sections, the lack of proper instructions in the management of the electoral process were also registered in some cases.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

g. COUNTING The international observers appreciated that the counting was done in an orderly, open and transparent manner, allowing for the viewing and registration of each vote; no staffing of urns was reported.

Some minor glitches were reported as: lack of information regarding the opening and manipulation of mobile urns, lack of clear procedures regarding annulled votes.

The overall climate of the counting process was an open and transparent one.

h. TABULATION AND ANNOUNCEMENTS OF RESULTS

The tabulation process throughout the whole country was transparent in compliance with the Cambodian international assumed obligations of Copenhagen Document prescribing that the results will be: “counted and reported honestly�

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS V. FINAL CONCLUSIONS ON ELECTORAL RESULTS OF CAMBODIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ON 29 JULY 2018

In the final conclusions of the observation and monitoring activities opened on the territory of Kingdom of Cambodia during the period of 22 July -2 August 2018 the INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM decided:

The pre-election period and campaign time were characterized by a free and open legislation, encompassing all the necessary legal and constitutional procedures granting any Cambodian society member the right to partake on the election, to present and promote his candidature and to have the opportunity to express his views and vote.

The campaign climate was peaceful, open with no pressures upon the voters, with anti-money laundry provision ensuring an equal opportunity climate for all the candidates.

The Election Day activities were conducted in a transparent manner, without pressure or state authorities’ intervention in a manner conducive to allowing the free expression of the Cambodian people.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The Parliamentary elections in Cambodian held on 29 July 2018 were assessed by “over 165,744 representatives of local organization, and 56 foreign states, international organizations and foreign media,” according to Cambodian’s National Election Committee (NEC).

A number of over 160.000 internal observers were deployed at all polling stations in the country offering the necessary checks and balances for a democratic electoral process.

In conclusion, we appreciate that: the vote of 29 July 2018 has expressed in a democratic manner the views and the decision of Cambodian people and the electoral process was clearly transparent, open, all-inclusive and genuine democratic in nature and organization.

ANNEXED DOCUMENTS National election a success: NEC Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Prime Minister Hun Sen shows his inked finger after voting yesterday with his wife. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The National Election Committee yesterday said that the national election was a resounding success, with 82.17 percent of registered voters turning out to cast ballots to elect the 125-seat National Assembly. Speaking at a press conference after all polling stations closed at 3pm, NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok said the election was a success with 22,967 polling stations across the country reporting a smooth election. “This is a success. I offer this accurate and transparent preliminary result for all relevant parties as information that can be verified from now until the official results,� Mr Bun Hok said. He said that 6,885,729 out of the 8,380,217 registered voters turned out to vote, or 82.17 percent. In 2013, about 69 percent of voters cast ballots, with 6.6 million making to the polls.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

The NEC is slated to announce its preliminary election results on August 11 and the official ones on September 11 after all complaints from political parties are solved, he said. Mr Bun Hok added that authorities assisted with security well, ensuring a safe voting environment and leading to the high turnout. “No violence was reported,” he said. “It clearly shows that Cambodian voters have become more mature when compared to the previous elections. They understand their obligation and their rights.” As of press time yesterday evening, unofficial results showed that the CPP won more than 110 seats in the National Assembly, while Funcinpec and the LDP were the only other two parties to secure those remaining.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

International observers attend a press briefing after the election yesterday. KT/Taing Vida

NEC spokesman Dim Sovannarom told reporters after the conference that the NEC was proud of the high turnout “The turnout is higher compared to the 2013 election. Both national and international observers assisted well and they witnessed the whole process,” Mr Sovannarom said. “So I think this election is clearly proved to be free, fair and transparent.” Phnom Penh police chief General Chuon Sovann said that about 80,000 forces were deployed across the capital to ensure safety during the polling day. “I think the electoral situation in 2018 was much better than the previous one in 2013, in which violence occurred at some polling stations,” he said. “Many police officers were deployed to ensure security.”

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

NEC chairman Sik Bun Hok speaks to the media after the election yesterday. KT/Taing Vida

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany cast their ballots in Kandal province’s Takhmao city early yesterday morning, but he refused to talk to the media at the polling station. Mahbub Alam Shah, an observer from Bangladesh who was at the polling station in Takhmao city, said that a safe and peaceful environment ensured no violence occurred. “It’s amazing that a country like Cambodia can be very organised with all those political parties. I’m not trying to be pro or against. We would tell the truth. I saw it with my own eyes,” he said. Cheang Ratanak, a 67-year-old voter, said that he voted to support democracy.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

Funcinpec party president Prince Norodom Ranariddh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

“I want all lawmakers to serve the people in the country. There were 20 political parties, so I had a choice to vote for a true leader,” Mr Ratanak said. “I think this election was free and fair.” Chan Chamrong, a 42-year-old teacher, said he voted for the CPP because he wanted the Kingdom to continue enjoying peace and further development. “It’s been five mandates for the CPP but I still vote for it because I think it has done good for the country and I do not think other parties will be better than it,” he said. Mao Monika, another voter who cast her ballot in Takhmao city, said that she felt confident that she chose the right leader.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

“I hope the leader that I chose will help the people,” Ms Monika said. “Voting is very important and this is the second time for me to vote. Before, there was a strong competitor, the CNRP, but now we don’t have it any more. However, the election process must move on.” In a statement released yesterday, the CPP said that the high voter turnout clearly showed that Cambodian people’s rights to participate in politics and enjoy multiparty democracy remains robust. “The CPP firmly believes that multi-party democracy is the foundation of sustainable peace and development,” it said. “We congratulate Cambodians who have voted today to maintain a multi-party system in Cambodia.” The CPP, which is expected to win the election, also thanked national and international observers for their monitoring.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

LDP president Khem Veasna at a rally in Prey Veng province. KT/Ven Rathavong

Mr Hun Sen posted a message on his Facebook page yesterday, saying that voter turnout was high because people understood the democratic process and exercised their rights. “Thank you very much, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, for voting in the parliamentary election for any party you like,” Mr Hun Sen said. Former opposition Sam Rainsy leader also posted message on his Facebook, deeming the coming CPP victory as senseless. “For Cambodian people, unable to make a real choice because of the absence of the CNRP, the result of this false election conducted in a climate of fear is a betrayal of the popular will,” Mr Rainsy said.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

In 2013, more than three million out of 6.6 million valid votes were cast for the CNRP, leaving it with 55 seats compared to the 68 held by the ruling CPP after about 69 percent of voters cast ballots, marking the lowest turnout in history.

NEC: No complaints filed over ‘unfair’ election Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times :

THE National Election Committee yesterday said that it has not received any formal complaints from political parties claiming that the national election was not free or fair.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS NEC spokesman Hang Puthea yesterday said that most parties only complained through the media. “I don’t have any official complaints yet sent to the NEC rejecting election results,” Mr Puthea said, noting that all political parties signed a contract with the NEC to recognise the official results. “It won’t affect the results because the NEC followed the law,” he added. “We conducted the election with transparency because we tally the ballots in real time.” Mr Puthea’s comments came after the Reaksmey Khemara Party on Tuesday criticised the election in a letter sent to the Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia. “The national election process was neither free nor fair,” RKP president Sin Sopheap said in the letter. The Grassroots Democratic Party also said on Wednesday that the election was not up to standard as it accused the ruling CPP of intimidation and vote-buying. The GDP’s comments came after it released a statement on Tuesday as well, claiming that it knew the election was neither free nor fair prior to it taking place.

“The GDP knew in advance that the election was not fully up to a free and fair standard because of the CNRP’s dissolution, civil society organisation intimidated, restrictions on the freedom of the press and state infrastructure being used for campaigning,” it said in the statement. CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday responded to the allegations. He said that Cambodia is united in its choice to continue supporting the ruling party, noting that nearly 80 percent of votes cast went to the CPP. “Don’t just evaluate the election based on what someone said or what someone heard,” he said. According to preliminary NEC results, more than 6.9 million people cast ballots on Sunday, representing 82.89 percent of eligible voters. The CPP secured 76.78 percent, about 4.8 million, of votes nationwide.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS The NEC will announce all preliminary election results on August 11.

Ruling CPP will likely secure all 125 National Assembly seats Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:

Election workers begin to count ballots at a polling station in Phnom Penh on Sunday. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party secured 76.78 percent of valid votes nationwide on Sunday, meaning that it will likely gain all 125 seats in the National Assembly. According to preliminary National Election Committee results, the CPP garnered roughly 4.8 mil-lion votes, dwarfing all other parties including the two closest competitors – the Funcinpec party with 373,526 votes and the League for Democracy Party with 308,292 votes. Based on its own calculations, the CPP said yesterday that it secured all 125 seats after it garnered 77.36 percent of all valid ballots. CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said that a higher voter turnout for the election led to the party securing an overwhelming victory.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS “I would say that we secured a resounding victory,” Mr Eysan said. “According to the figures, I would say we may gain all the seats, but please let the NEC calculate it officially.” The NEC yesterday updated its preliminary results, upping the voter turnout rate to 82.89 percent with the CPP securing 76.78 percent of votes nationwide.

An election worker displays a ballot marked for the ruling CPP. KT/Chor Sokunthea

More than 6.9 million people cast ballots on Sunday, representing 82.89 percent of the 8.3 million registered to vote. However, invalid ballots ballooned to nearly 600,000, compared to about 100,000 in the 2013 election, when voter turnout was about 69 percent with 6.6 million valid ballots cast. NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said yesterday that the figures could change as a couple of polling stations in Kampong Speu, Kampot and Kandal provinces have yet to provide final results. “The NEC will work step-by-step to verify the figures,” Mr Puthea said. “Please be aware of anonymous sources. The NEC has yet to announce its official results or the parliamentary seats.”

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Mr Puthea also applauded the NEC for running a smooth election. “Once again, I would like to say it’s a smooth, free and fair election,” he said. “Security was ensured and people were happy to go to vote.”

An election official tallies votes on Sunday in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The NEC will officially announce all of its preliminary election results on August 11 and the official ones on September 11 after resolving complaints from political parties, he noted. Yang Saing Koma, president of the Grassroots Democratic Party, posted on his Facebook saying that although the GDP won no seats, it gained support from villagers. “We will continue to work with more Khmer youths and local people to grow basic democratic seeds,” Mr Saing Koma said. National observers from seven organisations yesterday held a press conference to sum up what they witnessed at polling stations across the country where 1,036 observers were deployed. They said that the election was free and fair without any intimidation.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS “The election was held peacefully as voters went to cast their ballots without fear or coercion. We saw a lot of international observers at the polling stations, impressing us that the Cambodian election was transparent,” said Chum Chan Putheavy, director of the Cambodian Organisation for Woman Support.

An elderly woman exits a polling station after voting. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Prasith Sayasith, ambassador of Laos to Cambodia, said that he witnessed ballot counting and noted that it was transparent. “I can say that it was transparent,” he said. “I noticed that the voter list was very clear.” Sergey Sirotkin, an observer from Russia, hailed the national election as free of violence. “I observed seven polling stations and there was no intimidation or clashes,” he said. After meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday, Anton Caragea, chairman of the European Council on Tourism and Trade, issued a statement saying that he was witnessing firsthand an election that paved the way for functional democracy.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS “I can say in full confidence that the victory of the Cambodian People’s Party under your outstanding leadership was the result of your vision, charisma and powerful crafted development plans that will ensure Cambodia’s bright future,” he said, boasting of Mr Hun Sen.

In a statement released yesterday, both Canada and the United States condemned the election as neither free nor fair. The US expressed regret that Sunday’s poll failed to represent the will of Cambodian people. “The flawed election, which excluded the country’s principal opposition party, represents the most significant setback yet to the democratic system enshrined in Cambodia’s constitution, and substantially erode Cambodia’s achievements in promoting political reconciliation and economic growth since the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement,” the White House press secretary said in a statement. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop also expressed concerns over the election.

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS “Freedom of expression and association underpin democratic societies. Australia is concerned the election took place in an environment where not all political parties, civil society organisations and media could operate freely,” Ms Bishop said. However, both China and Russia issued statements in support of the election.

“We extend our congratulations on the smooth and successful organisation of the sixth National Assembly election of Cambodia, as well as on the victory of the Cambodian People’s Party in the election,” a statement from the Chinese embassy in Cambodia said. “The election results reflect the choice of the Cambodian people,” it added. “We hope that Cambodia can maintain the hard-earned momentum of peaceful and stable development, and the Cambodian government and its people continue to make new achievements in promoting economic and social development of the country.”

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INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORING TEAM CAMBODIA JULY 2018 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

The FINAL ELECTION MONITORING REPORT FOR KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, JULY 29, 2018

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Profile for Conference on Security and Cooperation

PRIME MINISTER HUN SEN RECEIVES CAMBODIA GENERAL ELECTIONS 2018 OFFICIAL REPORT  

H.E. Academician Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cambodia has received at the Peace Palace the delegation of Heads of International El...

PRIME MINISTER HUN SEN RECEIVES CAMBODIA GENERAL ELECTIONS 2018 OFFICIAL REPORT  

H.E. Academician Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cambodia has received at the Peace Palace the delegation of Heads of International El...

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