News / Asia

Cambodia Opposition Rejects Election Result, Alleges Widespread Fraud

Sam Rainsy (C), president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) addresses reporters at his party's headquarters in Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.
Sam Rainsy (C), president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) addresses reporters at his party's headquarters in Phnom Penh, July 29, 2013.
VOA News
Cambodia's main opposition party has rejected the results of a parliamentary election and has called for an investigation into allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party [CPP] claimed a narrow victory in Sunday's vote, admitting to its weakest showing since taking a dominant role in Cambodian politics almost three decades ago.

Shortly after the polls closed, the CPP said it won 68 seats in the nation's 123-member parliament - a significant decline from the 90-seat majority it previously held. It said the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party [CNRP] took the remaining 55 seats, almost doubling the 29 seats it held in the outgoing parliament.

The CPP appeared to base its claims on partial results released by the National Election Committee, which was not expected to disclose final election figures for several weeks.

Charges of widespread fraud

CNRP leader Sam Rainsy told reporters Monday the CNRP would not accept the results of the ballot because of what he characterized as widespread fraud.
 
"We ask local and international bodies to send experts now to be part of a joint committee to investigate all the irregularities, and to assess the implications of those irregularities on the election results," said Rainsy.
 
Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan told VOA the opposition's announcement was typical of its election behavior. "The opposition party uses this game after every election," he said.

"There were serious fraud allegations leading up to the elections," said Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch [HRW], who was in Cambodia observing the election campaign. "They included illegal behavior on behalf of government security authorities; things like 'ghost' voters, de-registration of opposition voters, biased behavior by the national election commission, unequal access to national media, the list goes on and on. It is a serious problem and it does deserve an independent investigation."

'Litany of breaches'

The non-profit Transparency International Cambodia echoed those concerns. The group, which sent 900 observers to about 400 of the nation's 19,000 polling stations, says it found a litany of breaches.
 
Chief among those was that in 60 percent of polling stations, some people who had the right identification papers could not find their names on the voting list. It also found that people who lacked the correct identification were allowed to vote in a quarter of the polling stations.

Transparency International said its findings closely matched the pre-election findings of other monitors.

The Cambodian government has not yet commented on the substance of the alleged irregularities.

Rainsy said his concern is for the will of the people.

"What we are interested in is to render justice to the Cambodian people. To ensure that the will of the people will not be distorted or reversed as before," he said.
 
Bringing about change

David Chandler, a Cambodia analyst with Australia's Monash University, said a major political change is unlikely.  

"The opposition does not have access to funds, weapons or patronage. So the financial power will continue to be in the hands of the CPP. Foreign aid will flow to the government, which is controlled by the CPP," he said. "I think politics will become more interesting and vibrant, but I do not think that will involve the transfer of power to any extent."

The CNRP appeared to get a boost in the election from the merger of two of its founding parties, who joined forces last year to challenge the long-ruling CPP. The united opposition party touted a populist platform calling for a sharp rise in civil servants' salaries, monthly payments to those over 65 years old, and an increase in the minimum wage. It also pledged to regulate government prices for agricultural products, lower gas costs and provide free health care for the poor.

Robertson of HRW said the promise of change made many voters more enthusiastic about participating in the election.

"It really propelled the opposition to make major gains. But, we should not confuse outcomes with processes and procedures," he said. "The processes and procedures of the election were not fair and favored one side. They were designed to deny the civil and political rights of the Cambodian people."

Critics questioned whether the opposition would be able to pay for its proposed measures.

Hun Sen has been prime minister or co-prime minister of Cambodia for 28 years, first assuming office in 1985.  

Daniel Schearf and Heng Reaksmey contributed to this report from Phnom Penh,
Victor Beattie contributed from Washington.
  • 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)

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: oudom from: Phnom Penh
July 30, 2013 5:37 AM
I am very disappointed with allegation of widespread electoral fraud, the CNRP, have to seeking for support from the World ......

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid