It is a matter of
Seat allocation formulas, intimidation and allegations of
ballot fraud aside, a mere 129 votes separates Funcinpec
from one more seat in Kampong Thom.
That slim margin of victory gives the Cambodian People's
Party (CPP) the sixth and last National Assembly seat
allocated for the 90-commune province.
According to experienced election-planners, most
democratic countries would automatically recount such a
tight result. But the National Election Committee (NEC)
has rejected Funcinpec's request for a recount in Kampong
Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah said the royalist
party was surprised that the request was rejected. He
added that the request has been resubmitted to the
"In any democratic country, an NEC would do a
recounting without any request from the parties because
the margin is very close - some 120 votes," Tol Lah
Recounts were completed in eight communes around the
country and in every one the NEC found "minor
discrepancies" of a few votes, which it attributed
to "technical errors.
However, the NEC decided to halt its recounting effort
and advised parties to send their complaints to the
Constitutional Council, Samraing Kamsan, spokesman of NEC
Chairman Chheng Phon, said on Aug. 11.
"I would like to explain that technical errors do
exist," Kamsan, told journalists, adding that the
discrepancies "will not affect the allocation of
But a few votes per commune in 90 communes could make a
big differencein Kampong Thom. At least three other
provinces also have narrow margins of victory for the
In Siem Reap, about 200 votes separate the CPP from
taking the province's sixth seat from Funcinpec. The CPP
could also gain a seat in Battambang, where about 600
votes out of a total of 310,954 - about 0.2% - separate
it from Funcinpec's capture of the province's eighth
seat. The Sam Rainsy Party could take the 11th seat from
the CPP in Prey Veng, where about 1,400 votes - about
0.3% of the province's 453,272 votes - separate the two
Election sources told the Post that the NEC's decision to
stop the recounts produced a rare split among the 11 NEC
members, who usually make decisions by consensus.
"The NEC had a limited amount of time," said
NEC member Do Kong Nguon, one of the majority of NEC
members who voted to stop the recounting. "The NEC's
work is finished and it is now up to the Constitutional
CPP officials acknowledged that a recount in Siem Reap or
Battambang could gain the ruling party two extra seats,
but they were unsure if any of the CPP's requests to the
NEC were resubmitted to the council.
The SRP called for recounts in 39 Prey Veng communes, but
these complaints apparently were part of the majority of
the SRP's that were rejected by the Constitutional
Council on the grounds that the party did not submit a
proper cover letter.
"It is the legitimate right for all parties to
request a recount," Rainsy said a few days later.
"The difference is so thin. If the CPP wanted a
recount in any similar situation, we would not
A foreign election technician said NEC staff is prepared
for a recount in Kampong Thom and merely waiting for a
decision by the council. A plan exists to have 16 teams
of three counters go through the province's 227,461
votes, working two shifts. The recount is expected to
take five days.