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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora