News / Asia

Cambodian Parties Agree to Steps in Tense Post-Election Atmosphere

Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Sam Rainsy looks on after a press conference in his main party headquarters.
Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Sam Rainsy looks on after a press conference in his main party headquarters.
Robert Carmichael
After nearly five hours of talks on Monday, Cambodia’s ruling party and the opposition have agreed to a series of steps designed to defuse the country’s tense post-election atmosphere. The lengthy meeting came after a night of violence in Phnom Penh during which one man was shot dead and several other people were injured.
 
The violence in Phnom Penh late Sunday night has shocked many Cambodians, not least King Norodom Sihamoni.
 
On Monday the king, who is a constitutional monarch, publicized a letter calling on both sides to ensure that the country remained at peace.
 
Speaking at Parliament on Monday, opposition spokesman Yim Sovann said the king’s request had formed the first of three items agreed to between the ruling Cambodian People's Party, or CPP, and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP.
 
“The first point is to avoid the violence - we have to respect the royal letter of the king dated today, that asked both the CNRP and the CPP to avoid as much as possible the violence. Our demonstration must be peaceful and also the government must be very patient not to use force or weapons against the demonstrators,” Yim said.
 
At the center of the problems surrounding the July 28 election is the National Election Committee, or NEC, the body that oversees elections. It is widely seen as having favored the ruling party in this and previous elections.
 
Among the NEC’s responsibilities is the voter list, which independent studies this year showed was deeply flawed with more than a million ghost voters and duplicate names. In addition, around one million genuine voters were disenfranchised.
 
The opposition contends that those flaws were deliberate and cost it the election.
 
Yim Sovann said the two sides - which included Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy -also agreed Monday to set up a committee that would look at an array of election-related reforms.
 
“The second is we agree to form a committee for the electoral reform - you know we need to reform the NEC, we need to amendment some laws related to the election, and also we have to have new voter list, and so on and so on,” Yim said.
 
Yim Sovann said the parties had also agreed to keep talking - with another meeting planned prior to the opening of Parliament on September 23. The opposition has threatened numerous times to boycott the opening of parliament unless it gets an independent investigation into the election.
 
Yim Sovann described the talks as “fruitful” and told VOA that the CNRP still insists on an independent investigation into alleged widespread voting fraud.
 
After the talks, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha headed to Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh, where tens of thousands of their supporters have been holding a three-day rally to protest the election result.
 
  • A protester gestures between flames during clashes with security forces in Phnom Penh, Sept. 15, 2013.
  • A protester supporting the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party throws a stone as another tries to remove barbed wire barricades during clashes with police in Phnom Penh, Sept. 15, 2013.
  • Police officers use water cannons during clashes with protesters near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Sept. 15, 2013.
  • An injured protester of Cambodia's opposition party is carried to a hospital near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Sept. 15, 2013.
  • A protester supporting the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party reacts as police fire tear gas during clashes near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Sept. 15, 2013.
  • A supporter of Cambodia's opposition party avoids a smoke grenade near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Sept. 15, 2013

That rally began Sunday, and although it was largely peaceful during the day, the early evening saw a minor clash at a sealed-off area near the Royal Palace between stone-throwing protesters and riot police who replied with tear gas.
 
The protesters eventually dispersed after Sam Rainsy spoke Sunday and told them to stop fighting. But a far more serious bout of violence erupted later that same night in another part of town, where police shot and killed a man on the bridge of a major thoroughfare that the authorities had blocked.  
 
There were conflicting reports of how the violence began: some media reports indicated that ordinary commuters, fed up with being stuck at the bridge for hours, moved the barricades, and that this sparked clashes. Others said that commuters were caught between stone-throwing protesters and military police.
 
On Monday a coalition of rights groups accused the military police of using live ammunition at the bridge. The military police have denied that.
 
However the rights groups said the man who died - a 29-year-old father of four, reportedly a commuter trying to get home - was killed by a bullet, and said another eight people were hospitalized with bullet wounds. The rights groups said many more young men, some in their teens, were beaten up by police.
Opposition spokesman Yim Sovann said the opposition would continue its planned protest in Freedom Park until sunset on Tuesday.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

Assistant director says that clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, United States, Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid