The chief of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) Yasushi
Akashi declared the constituent assembly elections' free and fair' on May 29, the
day after polling finished.
"In the opinion of the United Nations and the Secretary General the polling
has taken place in a very good, peaceful atmosphere, and I consider the polling is
free and fair," Akashi, the head of the 20,000-strong peacekeeping mission,
said after a meeting of the Supreme National Council (SNC) held in the Royal Palace.
Akashi said he was happy with the poll assessments made by three of the four representatives
of Cambodia's interim body, which he described as 'very positive'.
"I expressed my gratitude and satisfaction for all these statements," he
said adding that the polling had met with full endorsement of the SNC's President
Prince Norodom Sihanouk and British Ambassador David Burns who spoke on behalf of
the Core Group.
Sihanouk took the eleventh-hour decision to return to the country to give moral support
to his compatriots during the poll.
He praised the poll outcome as a 'historic decision' of Cambodian voters and declared
it should be abided by all the parties.
"We, the SNC, except a few members, have to take into account this decision
irreversible of our Cambodian people," he said.
"I must very clearly take into account this historic decision of my people,"
Sam Rainsy of the royalist FUNCINPEC also said he was satisfied with the election
while Ieng Mouly of BLDP (Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party) gave 90 percent approval
of the polling, he said.
"Now, everybody said election went freely and fairly, so the recognition of
the result is automatic," SOC's (State of Cambodia) Premier Hun Sen old reporters
after the session.
Akashi did not clarify that his decision of 'free and fair' was accepted by the three
factions, but affirmed journalists' questions that statements made by the three SNC's
members were satisfactory and positive.
"On the whole they seem to be eager to approve the result of the election,"
The proof of 'free and fair' is attributable to the voter turnout which was higher
than U.N. personnel had predicted ahead of the opening the poling booths.
"The impression is the atmosphere which was very relaxed, happy and positive,
and popular verdict can not be denied by anybody," he added.
The UNTAC Chief told journalists that the door of further dialogue with the Khmer
Rouge, which boycotted the elections, is still open, but Khmer Rouge leader Khieu
Samphan responded in a letter that "this is dialogue with the deaf".
The next SNC meeting was agreed to be held on June 5, and the inaugural meeting of
the constituent assembly was scheduled for June 6.
In a statement issued by the United States Mission to the SNC, Senator John McCain
said the government and the party of the State of Cambodia had pledged to respect
the result of the election.
The U.S. senator was on a three day visit to Cambodia where he met with Hun Sen and
CPP (Cambodia People's Party) President Chea Sim.