News / Asia

Cambodia Opposition Rejects Election Result

Cambodia National Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy, center, speaks during a press conference in his main party headquarters in Chak Angre Leu in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 29, 2013.
Cambodia National Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy, center, speaks during a press conference in his main party headquarters in Chak Angre Leu in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 29, 2013.
Robert Carmichael
Cambodia's main opposition party has rejected the results of a parliamentary election and 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. 
 
CNRP leader Sam Rainsy told reporters Monday the opposition 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."
 
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. 
 
Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch (HRW) was in Cambodia observing the election campaign. 
 
"There were serious fraud allegations leading up to the elections," he said. "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. "
 
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. 
 
Opposition leader Sam 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. 
 
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.  I think politics will become more interesting and vibrant, but I do not think that will involve the transfer of power to any extent," he said. 
 
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. 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.  
 

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Levi Ann from: Australia
July 30, 2013 6:52 AM
The election in Cambodia unfair because Mr Hun Sen cheated, on behalf on Khmer in Australia I want to see UN involve and do investigate on this case, because the result unacceptable.
1.national media closed (not live)
2.national election committee belong to Mr Hun SEN
3.people can't find their names


by: GoodSamaritan from: Los Angeles, CA
July 29, 2013 7:44 PM
As predicted, this guy would never get elected. First, he is anti-Vietnamese, which makes him a racist. He and his party made many empty promises. Where will he get the money to raise the salary of civil servants and give free health care when the country is so poor and there is no tax system? Old generation of Cambodian still trust Hun Sen, because they are afraid Cambodia will fall into civil war again.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid