>The Cambodian Election: It Is A Travesty Of Democracy

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Opinion by Khmerization
28th July 2008

“The premature claim of victory by the CPP has a sinister connotation. It was a psychological war and was designed to divert the attention of the electoral observers in order to whitewash the electoral fraud, irregularities and vote-rigging.”

The yesterday’s election can be considered as smoother and better than the previous ones in the sense that politically-related violence is down, but it cannot be said that it is any fairer and freer when it comes to electoral rolls and vote-counting.

The opposition parties, non-governmental organisations and the people themselves have complained that thousands and thousands of eligible voters, a large majority of them are opposition voters, have been prevented from registering to vote or have been deleted from the voting lists just before the election. Half way on the election day, the opposition leader, Mr. Sam Rainsy, held a press conference to declare electoral irregularities when he claimed that more than 200,000 legible voters in Meanchey district of Phnom Penh were not allowed to vote because their names had been deleted from the electoral rolls. If Sam Rains’y claim is true, and those 200,000 people came forward, then this is a serious blow to the credibility of the election.

What should surprise many people is the premature claim of victory by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Just less than two hours after the polling stations closed Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the CPP spokesperson, claimed that his party had won the election by gaining at extra 8 seats. This means that the CPP will win the 2/3 majority of 81 seats, exactly the numbers of seats that Chea Sim and Hun Sen had predicted nearly a year ago that the CPP will win. Mr. Chea Sim’s and Mr. Hun Sen’s prediction was so accurate, even more accurate than Nostradamus’s prediction, the famed French astrologer.

The premature claim of victory by the CPP has a sinister connotation. It was a psychological war and was designed to divert the attention of the electoral observers in order to whitewash the electoral fraud, irregularities and vote-rigging. But to many seasoned observers of the Cambodian elections, this premature declaration of a victory by the CPP should ring the alarm bell- that there might be a hidden agenda behind it. No one will doubt the CPP’s victory this time, but many people should doubt the CPP’s claims of a majority of 81 seats.

Up to this moment, many NGO’s had claimed that the CPP had just won 70 seats and the Sam Rainsy Party had won 50 seats. Mr. Yim Sovan, the MP from the Sam Rainsy Party, had claimed just 40 seats for his party. Let’s hope that at the end of today, the trends would go the way the NGO’s claim, and not the CPP’s claim. If the CPP’s claim is to be believed, it would be a travesty of democracy in Cambodia. And I hope, whoever won the election, it should not affect the Siem Reap Talk today with Thailand to resolve the Thai occupation of the Preah Vihear’s so-called “disputed zone”.

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