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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Funcinpec, SRP give thumbs down

Funcinpec, SRP give thumbs down

In a joint declaration, both Funcinpec and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)

have condemned the election process as neither free, fair nor transparent, claiming

that 1.5 million people were denied the chance to vote.

The secretary-general of Funcinpec, Prince Norodom Sirivudh, signed the declaration

along with his opposite number at the SRP, Eng Chhay Eang on August 8.

They said the National Election Committee (NEC) had not managed the election properly,

and consequently the two parties rejected the preliminary result.

"It is not acceptable since it produces a result that does not reflect the will

of Cambodian people," their statement noted.

The parties said the NEC had placed obstacles in the way of 500,000 voters which

had deprived them of the chance to register earlier this year.

And they claimed that a series of other actions cost a further one million potential

votes. Among these were illegal confiscation of voter cards, moving voting stations

without providing sufficient notice, posting erroneous voter lists that meant people

could not find their names, and deleting valid names from lists.

They also counted in the hundreds of thousands they said who had cast their ballots

under threat, whose votes were stolen, or who were subject to alleged CPP vote-buying.

Both parties denounced the commune and provincial election commissions, saying they

had acted to prevent political party representatives from examining documents to

address irregularities.

"These election bodies refused any request for recounting even though the margin

for a parliamentary seat to change hands amounts to a mere 0.1 percent. They failed

to address our complaints properly," the two men wrote.

The SRP later emailed calculations from the Khmer Intelligence website, which analyzed

the past four elections. KI claimed that the CPP had in fact lost ground, and calculated

that the CPP's share of the vote dropped from 61.2 percent in 2002 to 47.3 percent

in 2003.

Koul Panha, executive director of election monitoring NGO Comfrel, said the NEC had

failed to encourage voters to get out and cast their ballots. He agreed with the

reasons given by Funcinpec and the SRP for the low turnout.

"It's no problem if people don't want to vote, but in this situation we found

that people actually wanted to cast their ballots," Panha said. "I think

the NEC should reorganize the election where there were problems."

* NEC preliminary results released on August 8 show the CPP won 47.35 percent of

votes (2,447,259 votes), the SRP took 21.87 percent (1,130,243 votes), and Funcinpec

received 20.75 percent (1,072,313 votes).



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