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US calls for review of election ‘irregularities’

US calls for review of election ‘irregularities’

The US Department of State on Monday called on Cambodian authorities to carry out a full investigation into “all credible reports” of election malfeasance, saying that it was “concerned” by various issues taking place both on, and leading up to, last Sunday’s vote.

At a press briefing in Washington, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki praised Cambodians “for their active and peaceful participation” in the elections, before going on to call for an examination of defects in the electoral process and an investigation of irregularities – a move that comes just after the opposition and civil society made their own such calls on Monday.

“We have consistently called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to address systematic flaws – systemic flaws, such as problems in the voter registry and unequal access to the media,” she said. “We call for a transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities.”

Psaki went on to say that the State Department would be “closely monitoring” information distributed by the National Election Committee, and emphasised that any investigation must be “viewed as credible by the Cambodian people”.

Though the Cambodia National Rescue Party and civil society organisations have called for an independent investigating body comprised of all stakeholders, Sean McIntosh, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, said that “ideally, it would be the NEC” that conducted the investigation.

However, McIntosh added that the embassy was “talking to civil society to gather their thoughts as well, and ... amassing information”.

CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said yesterday that the party would still be requesting an independent committee in a letter to be sent to the NEC today, but added that she was pleased with the United States' position.

“The US stands for democracy, electoral process that is free and fair, and that has always been the stance of the US and we support that,” she said.

Multiple calls to government spokesmen Phay Siphan and Ek Tha went unanswered, while Press and Quick Reaction Unit spokesman Tith Sothea declined to comment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH

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