Cambodia Elections Contested By Opposition

Cambodia’s elections were contested by the country’s opposition party, who alleged “serious irregularities.” Along with names missing from voters lists, reports claimed the some voters found their ballot had been used by someone else.

The preliminary results showed that, even with potential fraud on the side of Cambodia’s ruling party, the opposition made drastic gains in the general election.

While the party used to hold 29 seats, The Washington Post reports that the opposition won a preliminary 55 seats this time around. That number was compared to 68 won by the ruling party.

The gains by the Cambodia National Rescue Party were huge, even though the party didn’t appear to win the majority. They also lend to the idea of more democratic rulings in the future. The CNRP predicted extensive vote-rigging in the run up to the election.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy stated that Cambodia’s election day was “historic,” though he cautioned his supporters to maintain their calm and wait for the official results to be released.

Reuters notes that the National Election Committee (NEC) gave a list of results from each polling station on Sunday night. However, there was no tally for parliamentary seats yet.

Despite the preliminary results, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) predicted a victory. While Sam Rainsy did not concede defeat for his party, he stated at a news briefing later:

“We want to thank all Cambodian people… regardless of their political affiliation, Cambodians who support all political parties, for their dignified participation in this election, for their contribution to make democracy move forward.”

in anticipation of possible violence stemming from the results, military police blocked off a road leading to the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled in Cambodia for 28 years. They also blocked off a road leading to the offices of the CPP and the NEC.

But despite anger at reported electoral fraud, the voting remained peaceful, as did the rest of the day after the preliminary results were posted.

CNN notes that the CNRP requested an investigation on Monday morning, following the results. Rainsy called for a committee made up of representatives from all the major political parties to look into all of the alleged election irregularities. Despite the allegations, the National Election Committee asserted that the results were valid and the election was fair.