News / Asia

Cambodia Opposition Claims Win in Sunday Election

President of National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy, center, gives a speech during a public forum at their party's office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 31, 2013.
President of National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy, center, gives a speech during a public forum at their party's office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 31, 2013.
VOA News
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has set a conciliatory tone in his first public remarks since Sunday's disputed parliamentary elections.

The long-time leader told a crowd in Phnom Penh that he is open to discussions with the opposition and would support an investigation of alleged election irregularities if the National Election Commission thinks such a move is necessary.

Meanwhile, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is claiming victory in Sunday's parliamentary election, stepping up its rejection of the government's initial results.

The party said Wednesday its own polling data showed it won at least 63 parliamentary seats, compared to just 60 seats for the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

The government's preliminary figures released Sunday showed the CCP winning 68 seats - a significantly reduced majority from the last election - but enough to return longtime Hun Sen to power.

The CNRP, led by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, gathered Wednesday to collect evidence of alleged irregularities, as accusations of fraud continue to come in from international observers.

Rainsy said he hoped the evidence could bolster the party's call for a United Nations-backed investigation into what he said was widespread electoral fraud.

"Every polling station caused problems. In some, the election officials said there was no indelible ink or no papers, and that caused trouble. There could be a million problems like this. So the Cambodia National Rescue Party has to solve these problems," he said.

Rainsy told VOA Khmer as many as 1.2 million voter names had been removed from the national registry, while 200,000 names on it were duplicates.

Human Rights Watch on Wednesday said the ruling CPP "appears to have been involved in electoral fraud." It said CPP officials may have issued fake voting documents to supporters and allowed some to vote in more than one location.

The New York-based group, which based its conclusions on interviews with residents and officials, called for an independent commission to investigate the claims, since the National Election Commission falls under the ruling party's control.

Cambodian officials have rejected calls for an international inquiry and called on the opposition to clearly show what evidence it has. It has denied any wrongdoing. The CPP insists Hun Sen will stay on as prime minister.

The United States and European Union have both expressed concern over voting alleged irregularities in the vote. The U.S. has called for a "transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities."

Even if the preliminary results are upheld, it would be the ruling party's worst election result in 15 years. It could create a tricky political standoff for Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has led Cambodia for 28 years.

The opposition was energized by the recent return of Rainsy, who for years had been in self-imposed exile in France, fleeing charges he says were politically motivated. Rainsy received a royal pardon earlier this month, but was not allowed to participate in the elections.

The 60-year-old has threatened to organize mass protests if the government does not respect what he says are the election results. Official results are not expected to be released until mid-August.

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Comments page of 2
by: Anonymous
July 30, 2013 8:08 PM
"Ouch Borith, secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, has rejected calls for an international inquiry and called on the opposition to clearly show what evidence it has."

Is he for real? Why did people vandalize and burn police cars? Isn't evidence enough? What kind of evidence is he looking for?
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 01, 2013 5:56 PM
@pichenda. The idea of racial slur has already been tested. You can test that yourself. Go to Phnom Penh and ask any 10 year kids on the street, they will all use that word, "youn". And if you go villages in any part of the country, the answer will be the same, 100% "youn". Washington DC is not the place to test that theory, just in case. Like I said, "youn" is what everyone uses. They even use it to describe "youn" sour soup.
In Response

by: Pichenda from: Washington DC
August 01, 2013 3:34 AM
@Anonymous: What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. Emotion convey the meaning of word be it love or hate. The word Youn to Cambodian population had always been a racial slur, any 10 years old would know that. Please stop justifying for you bad reasoning. If you want to make an impactful comment please be a little less bias don't bring Newton's law of motion action, reaction mumbo jumbo stick with your line of reasoning and put in your sources and figures.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 31, 2013 8:41 PM
First of all, the reaction to action is connected. The burning cars is the reaction to action. So lets focus on the "why" and "what" caused the reaction and learn from this lesson so it won't happen again in the future. That would be the most valuable lesson to have. If you focused just the reaction part then you are bias, blaming one party. Something happened because it reacted to something before that event took place.

Tom, I don't think "Youn" is a racial slur. It's a short name, just like "khmer" and "Siam" which all khmer use when referring to people of those countries. The word "Youn" became a racial slur when you attached bad meanings to it. This racial slur concept was probably invented by the CPP to keep Khmer from using it to attack the CPP for being so close to communist Vietnam.

I agree on the issue part. Instead of blaming outsiders, focus on the government. Is the government being fair to all Khmer or only particular party members? Did the government violate human rights? Did the government solve corruption. How is the government tackle this, and is it working? Why and why not? These and many other real issues are in need of serious discussion with all parties involved.

K.Meas, I'm with you on that. Khmer are greatly to be liberated from Khmer Rouge. But this doesn't mean escape from the worst situation to bad a situation as you pointed out. There are lots of injustice on the ground. Not all Khmer are treated equally. If you have power and money, you are in a different world. They need to correct this. A half-baked democracy is not a real democracy, no matter how you slice it.
In Response

by: Tom from: Phnom Penh
July 31, 2013 12:36 PM
Rainsy tapped into the xenophobia and centuries old rivalry/hatred of the vietnamese, for which he is well documented for endorsing and exploiting. Reminiscent of political rallies in Germany in the 30's, I personally witnessed thousands of CNRP supported in conveys, chanting "Youn, out out out", Youn being a racial slur as bad as any descibing Jews of africans.

Rather than focusing on the real issues, Rainsy descended to the lowest possible level, blaming everyones problems on an imaginary demon. Mob violence and deaths of ethnic vietnamese has already been reported. Cambodia may need change and new leadership,but Rainsy shouldn't be the man to do it
In Response

by: James Chen from: HK
July 31, 2013 12:22 PM
"In April, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) released a study that concluded that 13.5 percent of those who said they were registered to vote were not on the voter lists for 2013. If this figure is accurate for the entire country, it means that 1.25 million previously registered voters will lose their right to vote on July 28. The report said the missing people’s names were either not on the lists or so garbled as to be unrecognizable."
In Response

by: K.Meas from: USA
July 31, 2013 11:17 AM
@igor from Russia. = We Thank hun sen for saving the khmer race 30 years ago, theres no dispute there. The country has been liberated for more than 30 years, There has been do significant development, you need to open your eyes and stare at the streets of PP and also all khmer citizens who are being evicted from there land. The united nations and foreign donors in the past 25 years has totalled up more than 4.7 trillion dollars.. Why is there still beggars selling flowers on the streets? The kingdom will not survive like this for another 10 years
In Response

by: GoodSamaritan from: Los Angeles, CA
July 31, 2013 3:31 AM
Vandalizing the police car is not an evidence of voting fraud. It is people’s anger and stupidity. Just like in the United States and European countries, some stupid people burn the police cars and looting businesses when there is a defeat of their favorite sport team or a jury mistrial of a white man killing a black man. The police and business owners have nothing to do with the event.

What really bothers me is Sam Rainsy came up with a figure of 1.2 million voters who could not vote. How did he come up with that actual figure on the same day of election when he had no computer system to count non-voters and there were no 1.2 million non-voters who filed a complaint with him on the Election Day. Like in the U.S. there were times when voters could not find their names at the polling place due to computer glitch.

Old generation of Cambodians did not elect Sam Rainsy and his party because they did not trust him. Sam Rainsy, Mu Sochua, and Kem Sokha are anti-Vietnamese and racists. Every time there are idiot Cambodian politicians being anti-foreigners, there are uneducated Cambodians killing innocent American, Cham, Chinese, French, Thai, and Vietnamese. Sam Rainsy is an educated snob just like Pol Pot who claimed to be educated in France. He uses the term “Democracy” to fool the West. Like other Cambodians in the U.S. I got turn off by Sam Rainsy’s racist behavior.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Washington DC
July 30, 2013 11:55 PM
For real? Vandalism and the destruction of the state's property call for a good reasoning? Then I give up this world altogether to become a monk, for the end of the world is near.

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