Do you think the election was free and fair?
Chea Kola: Before we were too scared to express our opinion freely but now
we can. It is a historic chance for Cambodia to have democracy.
Kong Soron: Nobody threatened me. I'm very happy UNTAC arranged the election
and I think it was fair enough for our people even though it was not perfect.
Ken Ney: This was a great opportunity for the Cambodian people to express
their ideas for a new government through a free and fair election.
Keo Leangki: Before we were too scared to express our opinion freely. But
now we had the chance. This is an historic occasion for Cambodia to have democracy.
Raoul M, Jeannar, International Observer
Despite a very high level of intimidation, there was a real campaign and the people
were able to know which party they could vote for. Thanks to the secrecy of the ballot,
they were able to make a free and fair choice. Congratulations to the U.N volunteers
and the Cambodian polling officials.
Julio Jelders, Khmer Institute of Democracy
The elections were a great demonstration of the Khmer people's desire for peace and
national reconciliation. The electoral campaign was neither free nor fair because
of the violence, intimidation and harassment of opposition parties. UNTAC and Khmer
polling officials did an outstanding job in organizing the elections.
Sue Downie, UIP correspondent
With a turnout of 90 percent the voting has to be regarded as free but the campaign
period can not be regarded as fair as it did not meet Akashi's Apr. 21 criteria that
the election not be marred by violence, harassment, and intimidation and that the
State of Cambodia not have an unfair advantage through their use of the powers of
Le Sophan: I came from Kampuchea Krom (in southern Vietnam). I joined the
election and the peace walk in Phnom Penh. It is very good that the Cambodian people
had the election but I should not vote because I want to remain neutral.
Khiev Vana: I think this is the first free and fair election in Cambodia.
Kou Tom: People had a good chance to vote for the party they thought was best.
Chea Saly: There were no violence threats and we were free to choose the party
Seng Vouth: I was not pressured to vote for any party. As for me I can say
the election was free and fair and held in a democratic way.
David Hark, International Observer
Akashi Laid out to the SNC four criteria for a free and fair election: non-intimidation
and non-violence; non-use of the state apparatus; access to the media; and, a technically
proper polling operation.
Regrettably, only one-and-a-half out of four of these conditions pertained. Ruling
party directed political violence, intimidation and harassment emanating from the
state security organs down to the village level was long standing and substantially
uncurbed. Ruling party use of the state apparatus was ubiquitous. Political opposition
access to media? The last week or so, maybe.
Redemptively, the UNTAC polling operation was unimaginably successful technically
and politically. Cambodians incontrovertibly confirmed their aspiration for democratic
elections in spectacular, historic and breathtaking collective act of national self-determination.
A truly wonderful election-but, not, by UNTAC's criteria, "free and fair,"
even though, of course, they have to say it was.