Cambodia’s opposition rejects election results, calls for investigation

29th Jul 2013

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy has rejected the election results published by the government, speaking of massive manipulation. He has called for an international committee to investigate.

On Sunday evening Cambodia’s National Election Commission had announced that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party had won 68 of the 123 seats in parliament, with 55 going to Sam Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Party.

But on Monday the opposition leader rejected this result.

“We don’t accept the election results from the NEC because there are too many irregularities,” Rainsy told a press conference in Pnom Penh.

He called for the establishment of an investigative committee, with representatives from all political parties, as well as international NGOs and experts from the United Nations, to assess the election results. If they were found to be unfair, he said, his party would call for a repeat of the vote.

Even before Sunday’s vote Rainsy had expressed reservations.

“We take part in this election knowing it’s not a real election,” he said at the weekend.

Two independent audits earlier this year had found that the voter list could disenfranchise 1 million eligible voters. And although Sunday’s voting was mainly peaceful, there was one incident, in which angry people set fire to two police vehicles in Pnom Penh, because they could not find their names of the list of voters.

Rainsy had returned earlier this month after four years in self-imposed exile, to challenge Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has headed the government for 28 years.

Hun Sen’s party had a clear majority of 90 seats in the outgoing parliament and has lost substantially in this year’s vote, despite massive backing by the state-run media.

Sixty-year-old Hun Sen has been accused in the past of committing human rights violations and silencing opponents. He was a former junior commander of the notorious communist Khmer Rouge, which ruled the country in the 1970s.

Sunday’s poll was the fifth general election for Cambodia since the vote in 1993, which was organized by the United Nations to restore democracy and stability in the country.

Cambodia’s economy has grown fast, with the help of Chinese investment, but it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with a third of the 14 million inhabitants living on less than 65 cents a day.

rg/ch (dpa, Reuters)

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