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PM criticises opposition's poll tactics

SRP held members ‘hostage' during election, says Hun Sen.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Thursday rejected opposition claims that the Cambodian People's Party "bought" votes in Sunday's provincial, district and municipal council elections, making his own allegations that opposition leaders forced their own supporters to swear loyalty oaths prior to the poll.

"One political party made serious predictions, like family deaths, if their commune councilors' members did not vote for their party," Hun Sen told about a hundred villagers during a school inauguration in Kandal province.

"I think that the words were not appropriate behaviour because they were more serious than the criminal law, which has no death penalty."

He also blasted the opposition for allegedly taking their commune councilors "hostage" and seizing their telephones in order to monitor their communications on election day.

Nonetheless, Hun Sen said that about 352 of the SRP's 2,660 commune councilors voted for the CPP. Sunday's "indirect" election was only open to the country's 11,353 commune councilors.

But SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said there was ample evidence of vote-buying, including recordings of telephone conversations, but that the party's complaints of bribery had been denied by the National Election Committee.

He also rejected Hun Sen's claims the opposition had forced its commune councilors to take serious oaths.

"We did ask our members of the new councils to swear that they would honestly perform their work when they are holding the position," he said.  

Provisional election results released Monday by the NEC showed the CPP winning about three-quarters of the votes in the election.

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