The leader of the League for Democracy Party (LDP) on Thursday used a press conference to hit out at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for “vote buying” and the court-dissolved opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) for having “no morals or vision”.
LDP president Khem Veasna told journalists at its “What the League for Democracy Party Stands For” conference that the National Election Committee (NEC) had dismissed his July 11 request to amend the regulation that allows people to use one of a variety of marks on the ballot paper when voting, a practice he said enabled the CPP to pressure voters.
Veasna argued that only a tick should be permitted to indicate the party voted for in the July 29 national elections as this would better protect voter anonymity and help stop vote buying and intimidation.
The NEC on Sunday said it would not amend the regulation, rejecting Veasna’s argument by saying that having a variety of symbols “does not impact election anonymity”.
Veasna said that on Wednesday he had sent a request to the National Assembly to “inspect and correct the decision” of the NEC. He said he did not expect to be successful.
The National Assembly is yet to respond to his request, he said.
The NEC’s decision, Veasna said, would have a negative impact on the election and give the CPP an advantage as village chiefs at polling stations regularly advised people to use a particular mark, which could identify the voter and lead to vote buying and intimidation.
“The ruling party uses this tactic in every election to threaten people and buy their vote. It is intended to help them win the election. [They] need to do only two things – buying votes and threaten people. And both result from marking ballot papers in the election,” he claimed.
CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan said he believed Veasna resorted to making such accusations because he is “without hope” as he knows he would lose the elections.
“I think these accusations were made as he realises he will not win the national elections. He has said this because he is without hope and cannot accept the reality, so he lashes out at others.”
“As for the accusation of vote buying, if he has evidence, he can file a complaint with the NEC and it will investigate. Talking like this has no benefit … it is just propaganda,“ Eysan said.
Veasna, who was a former lawmaker with the then Sam Rainsy Party (now called the Candlelight Party) before forming the LDP in 2005, went on to launch a vicious attack on the CNRP, which he said should not be present in Cambodia as its leaders lacked morals, honesty, and had no vision.
“I thought the party would one day be dissolved, and not because of the government. Don’t blame the CPP. The CNRP’s behaviour was unforgivable. Not just the CPP, other parties also cannot forgive it,” he said.
He said the former opposition party had lost every election it had run in because of its inherent weaknesses.
“The CNRP should not be present in Cambodia. If you want to the change the government, [the CNRP] was never an option. It does not make sacrifices. It just serves personal interests.
“There is not a major opposition party that is as believable as the LDP,” he claimed.
Former CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann replied that he was not interested in what Veasna had to say, and that previous election results showed people did not support the LDP.
“Cambodians are not interested in his political vision and he knows it. How long has he been in politics, how many elections has he contested ... and how many commune councils has he won?” he asked.
“He is simply an empty voice for others. Organising such press conferences to attack us clearly shows his objectives. He has no influence [himself], and the people who use him have picked the wrong person,” Monyvann added.