Rainsy Considers International Complaint Over Election Result
By and | December 14, 2013

Opposition CNRP President Sam Rainsy on Friday expressed his intention to take his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the July national election, over which his party is boycotting its National Assembly seats, to an international stage.

Speaking at the launch of a detailed election report by the Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA), a coalition of NGOs and monitors, which called the result of the election into question, Mr. Rainsy asked two independent election experts their thoughts about how his party should proceed.

“If I’m not happy, where should I file a complaint?” Mr. Rainsy asked Damuso Magbual, chairman of the Asian Network for Free Elections, and Vladimir Pran, an expert from Democracy Reporting International. “Is there any international jurisdiction in which I can file a complaint?”

Mr. Pran said there is no international court in which Mr. Rainsy could take such action and that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does not refer to any kind of complaints mechanism.

But speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference Friday, Mr. Rainsy insisted that he still intends to seek help outside Cambodia over the months-long standoff that has seen the opposition’s 55 elected lawmakers refuse to take their seats in parliament.

“I knew, but I just asked them because I wanted to know—in some countries, like in European countries, they can file a complaint to the International Court [of Justice] because they have the European Court of Human Rights, but in Asia, we do not have a similar international court,” Mr. Rainsy said.

The ERA report, which was posted online by the CNRP earlier this month, provides a comprehensive look at several aspects of the elections that the authors said were enough to “undermine confidence in the electoral process and its outcome, the extent to which the ERA cannot determine particularly without the disclosure of relevant data by government bodies.”

This includes the outdated way in which seats are allocated, an unusual amount of votes being cast for the ruling party in areas where irregularities were rife, and the process of creating the voter list, the report says.

Mr. Magbual said the present electoral situation in Cambodia was reminiscent of that in the Philippines in the 1980s, particularly in relation to the voter list, which monitors have said is flawed and failed to accurately represent eligible voters.

“I agree that a new voter registration should be done,” he said. “Invalidate the existing list and come up with a new one.”

The CNRP plans to hold a demonstration in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park on Sunday, when Mr. Rainsy said further discussions to resolve the current political standoff will take place.

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The year is 1945 and Cambodian men are packed into traditional longboats, ready to race each other in an event that “has been going on for more than 1,000 years” at the annual Water Festival in Phnom Penh.

CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha said during a radio interview this week that he will meet with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Defense during his 20-day visit to the U.S., seeking their support for an eventual CNRP-led government.

The National Election Committee on Friday said that political parties would be banned from setting up permanent campaign bases in the city during next month’s council elections.

Sao Sothy’s home is small and the furniture is sparse. There are no tables or chairs. In one room, there is a small bed, but her family of four sleeps on mats in the living room. Hanging on the otherwise bare walls is Ms. Sothy’s teacher’s certificate.

The Council of Ministers on Friday passed three long-awaited laws on the reform of the judiciary and will send them to the National Assembly early next week.

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