Prime Minister Hun Sen has not conceded defeat in last month’s election, and an audio clip in which he appears to do so was edited by a “slew of rogues” trying to deceive the public, a statement from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party says.
In the audio, which surfaced on Facebook on Sunday and has since gone viral, the prime minister is heard to say that the “CPP has already lost the election”.
“This is known clearly by the CPP leadership.… The lower levels are still vague about this,” he continues in the sound bite.
But in its statement released late on Monday, the CPP says the audio was cut from a speech the prime minister made in May in which he repeated suggestions from opposition candidate Prince Sisowath Thomico that the government was headed for election defeat.
“This is a violation of the law by a slew of rogues who are always causing non-stop [trouble] at a time when Cambodian people need to stay calm so they can live normal lives,” the statement says, adding people should maintain public order while they wait for official election results.
The statement also takes a swipe at independent broadcaster Radio Free Asia for allegedly airing the sound bite.
But Chun Chanboth, deputy director of Radio Free Asia Khmer, said the station had not broadcast the sound bite as it appears on Facebook.
Instead, he said, RFA had actually broken the story about Hun Sen’s words being edited from a previous speech.
“We don’t understand how the statement can accuse us,” he said. “We found out it was false.”
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the party’s lawyers were considering whether or not to sue those responsible for the audio.
“We’re searching for the sound-bite cutter,” he said.
Yeap added that he was a witness to Hun Sen’s speech in May in which he responsed to Thomico’s declaration that the Cambodia National Rescue Party would win the election.