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Opposition takes vote fight abroad

Overseas tour aims to bring international attention to fraud

THE Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party have stepped up their opposition to the results of this year's national election, despite official results confirming the dominance of the ruling  Cambodian People's Party.

Sam Rainsy and HRP head Kem Sokha departed on a whirlwind tour of Europe and North America Wednesday night in a bid to publicise their claims that the CPP engineered its landslide victory through the manipulation of voter lists prior to the July 27 poll.

"The poll did not represent the people's will, [and] we have the necessary documents and witnesses to substantiate our complaints," said Sam Rainsy at a pre-departure press conference at HRP headquarters.

"I believe that foreigners will not sell themselves to the CPP if we take clear documents to show them."

Kem Sokha said the fraud committed in 2008 went beyond the irregularities observed in 2003.

"In the 2003 election, the irregularities were not as great as now, especially since a large mass of voters was deleted from the lists," he told the Post, adding that the pair would speak to officials in Paris, Brussels, New York and Washington.

"I think the signatories of the [1991] Paris Peace Accords need to know that the election was not fair," he said.

Both parties have also confirmed they will proceed with their boycott of the swearing-in of the new National Assembly on September 24, but would join the Assembly the following day.

"Our members will not attend the swearing in of the National Assembly, but will instead be sworn in on September 25. We will not be sworn in with the two thief parties [CPP and Funcinpec]," said Sam Rainsy. "[We] will ask the King to be sworn in on the 25th."

But government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said neither tactic would have any effect on the validity of the election results.

 

"Even if they make their complaints to the EU and UN, it will not change the result," he said, predicting the opposition parties would drop their boycott threats for fear of losing seats.

"If they don't attend the first session of the NA, they will lose face," he said. 

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MEAS SOKCHEA

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