News / Asia

Cambodia Electoral Body Says No Possibility of Joint Investigation into Polls

Supporters of National Rescue Party gather to give their thumbprint as they complain that their names were not in the voting lists in July 28 election, July 31, 2013.
Supporters of National Rescue Party gather to give their thumbprint as they complain that their names were not in the voting lists in July 28 election, July 31, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Robert Carmichael
— Cambodia’s National Election Committee - the body that oversees elections - says other groups cannot take part in its investigation of alleged irregularities in Sunday’s vote. The inquiry into a vote that both the ruling Cambodian People's Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party claim they won.
 
Earlier this week observers and election monitors applauded Prime Minister Hun Sen’s seemingly conciliatory statement that he supported a joint investigation by political parties and independent observers into claims of ballot fraud.
 
Hun Sen’s comments followed a bold claim by opposition leader Sam Rainsy that the ruling party lost Sunday’s election. Sam Rainsy insists that an independent investigation is needed into allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
            
The NEC, a supposedly independent body, is seen by many as beholden to the ruling party.
 
NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha said the law under which it operates simply does not permit others to be involved in its investigation other than as observers. “By the law [the] NEC only ask the question to the related parties, the related people, but we cannot invite the people or the political parties to join the group or the election officer to investigate questions,” he explained.
 
He said the NEC expects to work through the list of complaints in the coming days and should issue preliminary results by August 10.
 
The opposition calculates it won 63 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, based on an assessment of polling station returns compiled by its party monitors.  But it has yet to provide any evidence of its claim, which runs counter to early results showing the opposition had won 55 seats to the ruling CPP’s 68 seats.
 
Some observers question whether the NEC is able to carry out a credible investigation, especially because it also oversaw voter registration rolls, which missed the names of an estimated one million genuine voters.
 
Kuol Panha, who heads the independent election monitoring organization Comfrel, says an investigation of the NEC by the NEC will lack credibility. And, he points out, both the ruling party and the opposition have agreed to a joint process - so a deal should be reachable.
 
“And many voters also complain to NEC [that] they lost their right to vote during the Election Day. So this is a big question of credibility of NEC - not only this time but even before they did not really work hard to implement the reforms,” said Panha.
 
At this stage the scale of any irregularities remains unclear. However, Koul Panha said the opposition has provided Comfrel with some polling station returns that differ from the NEC’s.
 
Koul Panha said it should be simple enough to set up a joint group to investigate such discrepancies, comparing the polling station returns held by the various parties and the NEC. “The election result verification I think [is] not difficult. Maybe we can open and check any difference, why [it is] different and we can verify the number,” he said.
 
Koul Panha said the NEC should be careful to ensure that its process is inclusive otherwise voters might be unhappy with its findings - worsening and already tense situation in Cambodia.
 
The opposition said that if the NEC cannot conduct an inclusive investigation, then a separate body that brings together the political parties, the United Nations and local monitoring groups should be formed instead.
 
Meanwhile, the opposition has also warned that it might boycott the National Assembly. That would mean no quorum to approve a new government, and would deadlock the formation of the executive.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid