News / Asia

As Cambodia Election Impasse Continues, Opposition Plans Rally

Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), addressing reporters at party headquarters, Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), addressing reporters at party headquarters, Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.
Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), addressing reporters at party headquarters, Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.
Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), addressing reporters at party headquarters, Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.
Robert Carmichael
Cambodia’s election remains mired in controversy, with both the ruling party and the opposition declaring victory in the July 28 ballot.  The leader of Cambodia’s opposition, Sam Rainsy, said Thursday that a committee to investigate alleged electoral irregularities remains the only acceptable solution to the ongoing political stalemate.

Sam Rainsy told VOA Thursday that a working group established by parliamentarians from the ruling party and the opposition to discuss forming an investigating committee appears to have fallen short of an agreement.

But he said the process had proved useful.

“It’s part of the protocol - right, it’s just to show that we have tried, successively, at different levels. At the end, the top leaders must talk directly. It has been useful in preparing for dialogue at the top level,” he said.

Both the ruling Cambodian People's Party, or CPP, and Rainsy’s Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP, claim they won the election. The opposition says nationwide vote rigging swayed the outcome.

Rainsy stressed that the opposition would not compromise on its demand for a transparent investigation, and said the “full truth” must be exposed. Should that show that the ruling party had indeed won, Rainsy pledged that the opposition would accept it.

“We commit in advance. But on the other hand - the CPP must make the same commitment. If that after checking with witnesses - after checking that the figures were wrong - and it is actually the CNRP who won, they must accept this result as the real and the final result,” he said.

Last week the National Election Committee, or NEC, - the body that oversees elections - said preliminary results showed the ruling CPP had won a majority of seats in the 123-member parliament.

In recent days the NEC finished investigating complaints, and rejected all of the opposition’s submissions. The opposition said that was no surprise, given the NEC’s close ties to the ruling party.

The opposition’s complaints are now with the Constitutional Court - the country’s highest judicial body. Most of its appointees are connected to the ruling party.

Rainsy held out little hope the Court will be able to resolve issues to the opposition’s satisfaction. The opposition has pressed for an independent group to examine election irregularities.

Rainsy also insisted that a large peaceful rally planned for Monday was not to protest the election results, but to explain to its supporters what it has been doing, and to hear from its supporters what actions they would like it to take.

Ahead of that rally, Rainsy said he and deputy party leader Kem Sokha will also travel to other parts of the country.

“The purpose is to remain in touch with the voters, because we are accountable to the voters," he said. "Voters have voted in unprecedented numbers for us - they want to know: What are you going to do with our votes? Are you going to sell our votes to the CPP? Or you are going to defend the ideas that were contained, the hopes that were contained?”

Meantime residents in Phnom Penh have told local media that the authorities have forced them to sign statements saying they support the provisional election result and promising not to join any protests.

Government officials told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that thousands of people had signed the statements, but claimed they had done so voluntarily.

Cambodian rights groups and election monitors have condemned it as intimidation and said compelling people to sign was incompatible with free and fair elections.

In recent weeks the government has dispatched troops and armored vehicles to the capital, ostensibly to keep order in the event of post-election violence.

  • Sam Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), visits a polling station during the general elections in Phnom Penh, July 28, 2013.
  • Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen shows his inked finger after casting his ballot in Takhmau town, south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 28, 2013. Hun Sen has been on the job for 28 years.
  • An election official shows a ballot paper in Phnom Penh, July 28, 2013.
  • Heng Samrin, president of Cambodia's National Assembly, casts his vote at the polling station number 0370 at Outdor primary school in Kampong Cham town, July 28, 2013. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • Riot policemen protect a man accused of trying to hit a Buddhist monk, during protests against alleged election irregularities in Phnom Penh July 28, 2013.
  • A police vehicle burns following a brief clash at the end of election day in Phnom Penh July 28, 2013.
  • Princess Norodom Arunrasmy, president of the royalist FUNCIPEC Party, casts her vote a polling station at the Teaksin primary school in Kampong Cham town, northeast of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • A scene at a polling station in Kampong Cham town, northeast of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh. (Heng Reaksmey/VOA Khmer)
  • Scene at a polling station in Prey Veng town, in Cambodia's eastern Prey Veng province, July 28, 2013. (Kong Sothanarith/VOA Khmer)

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This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
August 25, 2013 1:32 PM
HunSen buying votes and support?

by: justice from: florida
August 25, 2013 12:43 AM
viet-con invaded Cambodia and
installed a puppet which benefeited
current Vietnam.

by: Gary Fultheim from: Long Beach calif
August 22, 2013 11:22 PM
Long Before the elections VOA and most of the Media predicted a CPP win. For years Sam Rainsy has been lieing to the population and practice KR racist philosophy..Now when he lost he again cries fowl and fraud.he has never done anything good for Cambodia. Hun Sen brought stability and by the will of the population has been several times re elected..The Military is in Phnom Phen to protect Government and private property along with citizens.Would you prefer the protesters burn down the city?
In Response

by: Bopha from: New york
August 25, 2013 12:26 AM
Gary, so you would trade corruption for stability? Go to Cambodia and see where all the money are going. Even though Cambodia is growing at a 6% annual rate, only the rich and foreigners are benefiting from this growth. Cambodia deserve better!
In Response

by: from: Massachusetts USA
August 24, 2013 9:04 AM
In my opinion, I strongly believe that both parties (CPP/CNRP) will never come down to the peaceful result even though they have been meeting with NEC, highest court in Cambodia, CPP, and CONFREL, back and forth. If you put this into perspective, when you play game, there only 2 outcomes (win or lose), right? For this election there only 2 outcomes too. Either one party lose or win, but not both. CPP won 68 and CNRP won 55. Now, if you are going to argue this back and forth and CNRP wants to talk peacefully with CPP/NEC/Highest Court, etremely still won't work. Why do I say that? Just think! If I win a lottery, do I give the ticket away? of course not. No matter how many times attend whatever meeting, I will alway deny the result because my goal is to retain this winning. Back to meeting I have heard that both party CPP/CNRP want to talk to find a solution, not going to work. The outcome for CPP has 3 things (step down, retain power, death) and the outcome for CNRP has 3 things (protest, win, lose). Ultimately if both parties want to lock their winning, meeting won't help unless CNRP finally say ok Mr. Hun Sen I am agree to work with you, but this is not easy because the people of Cambodia and who are living oversea will be not part of it. Finally, people themselves will rise and protest without the leader of CNRP. Finally, those meeting back and forth, will not work. It just give time for CPP/NEC to prepare their chess on the board.

by: Casey from: Minnesota
August 22, 2013 8:21 PM
Vietnam and China back Hun Sen - weapons from China and soldiers from Vietnam solely for the purpose of killing Khmer in the event of an uprising when CPP is again announced as the victors. The is little hope for the Khmer people against this monster.

by: karuna Tek from: Long Beach, CA
August 22, 2013 11:43 AM
Without the U.N. gets involved, Cambodian people will never get justice and fairness about the election fraud. NEC is alligned with CPP and ofcourse they will be biased against CNRP. NEC is working for hun sen and CPP and is not to be trusted to independently investigate the election fraud and irrigularities.
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 23, 2013 7:55 AM
NEC, Hun Sen and his regime are nothing but a bunch of joke. Not realizing that they allow their puppet masters (China and Vietnam) to destroy Cambodia bit by bit.
In Response

by: Charles Ward from: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
August 22, 2013 7:51 PM
Hello Karuna,
I am a U.S. Citizen here in Cambodia, and I agree with you, as every Cambodian should realize, that the NEC is CPP and impartiality is not their job. their job is to MAINTAIN CONTROL under the name of COMMUNISM.
I PRAT the People of CAMBODIA Stand UP and Say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
In Response

by: rk from: collegeville, pa
August 22, 2013 12:48 PM
Don't negotiate with the CPP out of fear. Demand the U.N. presence and assistance to investigate irregularities. The NEC is a CPP electoral machine. Don't waste more time with the NEC.

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