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.
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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid