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Funcinpec joins call for probe

Funcinpec party president Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey campaigns alongside party supporters
Funcinpec party president Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey campaigns alongside party supporters during a political rally on Phnom Penh’s Monivong Boulevard in July. HENG CHIVOAN

Funcinpec joins call for probe

Royalist party Fun­cinpec has joined the opposition in calling for international involvement in an investigation into election irregularities.

“I have issued a request to ask for the creation of an independent committee to investigate the irregularities,” Funcinpec secretary-general Nhek Bun Chhay said.

While the party failed to win a single seat, calculations based on the NEC’s first round of preliminaries released on Sunday night on TVK show that the party would have won a seat in Banteay Meanchey, while more comprehensive figures released a week ago put the party barely 2,000 votes shy of a seat.

“If Funcinpec Party could get 2,226 more ballots, or if CNRP got 4,452 less ballots, then the final sixth seat would have been allocated to Funcinpec party,” said Shiro Harada, a visiting professor from Tokyo University, based at RUPP, who has been studying the Cambodian election.

“The margins were very slim in some provinces, that’s why – speaking from a technical perspective – we should be very careful.”

Though Harada’s research suggests Banteay Meanchey is the only province where Funcinpec would have stood a chance of winning a seat, Bun Chhay said they believed that systemic irregularities caused them to lose seats in Siem Reap and Kampong Cham as well.

“If we resolve [the irregularities], we must have had seats. That’s why I demand the creation of an independent committee with participation from the international community,” Bun Chhay said.

The NEC has remained adamant that independent foreign or local monitors cannot be involved in an investigation, with numerous government officials terming such engagement “illegal”.

A planned joint committee involving the Cambodia National Rescue Party, Cambodian People’s Party and NEC officials was scrapped after only one day when the opposition boycotted due to a lack of international oversight.

Funcinpec won nearly 242,000 of the 6.6 million votes cast, according to the latest NEC figures, amounting to 3.5 per cent of the vote.

“It’s not zero,” pointed out Bun Chhay. “Even though [irregularities] damaged Funcinpec’s results, we still got more than 240,000 votes. So, [with irregularities accounted for] we have even more supporters than this.”

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