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Minor party leaders wonder where all their votes went

While most are stopping short of rejecting early returns suggesting a CPP landslide, small parties are grumbling over their poor showings

Minor parties in Sunday’s elections have joined the leading opposition parties in questioning preliminary returns that show the ruling Cambodian People’s Party winning in a landslide.

Khmer Anti-Poverty Party leader Kravanh Daran absolutely rejected the election results, noting that his party had 30,000-40,000 supporters in Phnom Penh alone. So, with the official results showing the party garnering fewer than 300 votes, it seemed strange, he said.

The party finished in last place on Sunday, with only 0.16 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from election observer Comfrel,

He suggested the National Election Committee (NEC) was a tool of the CPP, deleting voter names from registries and using other trickery to boost the CPP’s margin.

Society of Justice Party leader Ban Sophal claimed his party received about 10,000 votes on Sunday but stopped short of rejecting the preliminary results, saying on July 29 that clear evidence was needed before he would claim fraud or call for a re-vote. 

“We have no proof,” Ban Sophal said. “I’m also waiting to see if the four major parties offer evidence to reject the results, but for now I’m keeping quiet.”

Although his party finished in ninth place, with only 0.23 percent of the vote, according to Comfrel, Ban Sophal said he would not give up or quit politics. He said he was formulating a new strategy for the next election.

Khmer Republican Party president Lon Rith also said the election could have been fairer but stopped short of rejecting the results.

“Small irregularities can’t be regarded as major problems,” Lon Rith said.

His party finished on Sunday in tenth place, with about 0.20 percent of the vote, according to Comfrel figures.

Lon Rith predicted his party would compete more strongly in future elections now that he has learned some of the tricks politicians use.

Comfrel’s preliminary results showed the ruling CPP finishing nationally with 57.9 percent of the vote, winning 90 seats in the next National Assembly, followed by the Sam Rainsy Party in distant second, at 21.99 percent, good for about 27 seats in the next assembly.

The Human Rights Party edged the Norodom Ranarridh Party for third place, winning 6.29 percent and likely to take three seats in the next parliament.

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