RESULTS from Election '98 are in - three different unofficial versions of them.
While the National Election Committee's (NEC) effort to report partial results as
they came in from the provinces has lagged behind schedule, election watchdog COMFREL
and the CPP have each publicized more complete results based on reports from their
polling observers around the country.
The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) also began publicizing results gathered by its own observers
after the election, but switched to reporting COMFREL and NEC numbers a few days
into the ballot-counting process.
By the afternoon of July 30 the NEC had released results from 2.5 million ballots
from 17 provinces, representing approximately half of the electorate.
The NEC partial results showed the CPP leading with 1,019,743 votes (40%), Funcinpec
with 821,119 (32.2%) and the SRP with 414,841 (16.3%).
Election officials complained that the NEC's gathering of results had gone too slow
and was jeopardizing the timely reporting of the preliminary results, due in the
first few days of August.
"They are filtering too much what is coming in from the provinces," one
foreign technician said. "I don't think they understand the difference between
partial results, which are supposed to indicate voting trends, and preliminary results."
Preliminary results will be released after provincial election commissions' verification
statements of the commune-level counts are scrutinized and approved by the NEC. If
there are discrepancies between the commune and provincial counts in many provinces,
preliminary results will be delayed.
COMFREL's July 31 results, which one senior NEC official said looked very close to
the NEC's unpublished numbers, have given the CPP - running first in 18 of 23 constituencies
- a clear lead over its rivals.
According to COMFREL's figures, the CPP has garnered 41.3% of 4.6 million votes tallied,
with Funcinpec claiming 32.2% and the SRP 12.2%.
The independent election monitoring group also calculated how many of the National
Assembly's 122 seats each party would win - estimating the CPP would take 59, Funcinpec
45 and the SRP 18.
The CPP's own results are more favorable to the ruling party. The party estimated
July 28 that it had won 67 seats, compared to 41 for Funcinpec and 14 for the SRP.
Nonetheless, the CPP is not downplaying its win. "Finally, the Cambodian people
give justice to the CPP," senior party member Svay Sitha said.
"It is not only the victory of the CPP but the victory of the whole Cambodian
people and the victory of the international community."