THE Kingdom's ruling Cambodian People's Party cleaned up in May's council elections, winning more seats than anticipated across the country, the National Election Committee announced Thursday.
The NEC's results showed that in the elections for district-level councils, the CPP won 2,249 seats, and at provincial-level councils, 302 seats.
The opposition Sam Rainsy Party won 518 district seats and just 61 seats at the provincial level. The elections were indirect, meaning only elected commune officials could vote.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered Norodom Ranariddh Party won only 39 district and five provincial seats, while the Royalist party Funcinpec earned 55 district and six provincial seats.
"We are not surprised by this result because this voting system makes it easy for the ruling party to buy [SRP commune councilors'] votes," SRP spokesman and lawmaker Yim Sovann said, adding that despite their dissatisfaction, the SRP would accept the result of the poll.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap denied the CPP had employed vote-buying to win. The NEC secretary general, Tep Nytha, also said a purported recording of a CPP councilor offering a bribe to an SRP councilor would not stand up in court.
"This result is not a surprise," said Hang Puthea, executive director of local election monitoring organisation the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.
"We could have known the result beforehand, as the NEC is not neutral," he added.