Dated on Feb 9, 2002 from Phnom Penh

/The Cambodia People's Party won a landslide victory in the Commune election/

I went back to Cambodia three months after my surgical operation. It was February 2, and the whole city was totally quiet. I assumed this was the calm before the storm. Not only the 1993 election under the supervision of UNTAC, the general election in 1998 was also upset by demonstrations in Phnom Penh soon after the announcement of an election by the International Supervisor. We had a local government election this time to set up in Commune councils. One Disirict under Province is comprised of several communes which are made up of a certain amounts of villages. Every time Cambodia has an election, there has been repeated confusion. Villagers were watching what was going on prior to the February 3 voting day. Meanwhile, a newspaper said that a bank which we use failed to pay regular license fee. It was so sudden that I suspected that somebody took action for "pay-off" to bring the bank to closing business and make election fund. Later we made contact with the Embassy and found that the bank issue was all right.
ASAC staffs in Cambodia voluntarily registered their names to be the International Election Supervisor as they did in the last election. They had study meetings and joined election patrols. The number of the International Election Supervisors is 261 while Cambodian supervisors, about 40,000. There are 1621 communes and 12534 voting venues. I could see the election was starting to be here to stay in Cambodia. Seeing the Cambodian staff taking part in activities beside ASAC for the sake of their country, I felt they were becoming more aware and independent.
I wonder if any of you knows that the Japanese Government donated US$3,222,337, or about 420,000,000 for the election. Voting boxes, which had been also donated at the time of the last election, were used again this time.
It turned out that the current ruling party won overwhelmingly( The party won also in interim report by 62%.). The biggest opposition party, Hunsen Pec won 22%, the third party, Samrancy, 16%. Cambodians seem to feel that they were able to save the war anyway.
In the past election, when the democracy was at stake, the whole world paid attention to Cambodia. As I watch the election being carried out in peace, I see democracy is being here to stay and hope it will not recede at the same time.

/Thank you all for the Photo Exhibition/

In the New Year's days, we started our activity with the Photo Exhibition at Kashiwa Sogo department store and we had a lot of support from many people. Our very first activity actually started there with a Photo Exhibition calling for donation of worth "one brick of a school". That was eight years ago and time has passed really fast since then. As we have kept our activities, various people's cooperation has born fruit. I would like to thank you all, office staff, volunteers who have helped with the volunteer shop, Sabai, and volunteers who helped with the events. And people who chipped in for one brick of a school and individuals, groups, companies who donated to our organization. In the Exhibition we had this time, I recalled ASAC owes a lot to many people's understanding, cooperation and support. Thank you very much for all your kindness.

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