Rainsy Asks UN for Observers to Monitor Election Investigation

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has requested U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send observers to monitor an investigation being carried out by the National Election Committee (NEC) into irregularities at polling stations on July 28.

According to a letter dated Monday and released Thursday, Mr. Rainsy invoked the Paris Peace Accords to urge the U.N. to take part in the investigation process and said a failure to do so would be to flout the agreement signed in 1991 setting out a road map for peace in Cambodia.

“We believe that numerous irregularities in electoral processes produced an outcome that does not properly reflect the will of the people,” Mr. Rainsy said in the letter, adding that the Paris Peace Accords requires the U.N. and Cambodia to ensure a “liberal and pluralist democracy.”

“If the elections were not free and fair, then both the Kingdom of Cambodia and the United Nations are acting in breach of this agreement,” he said. “At this historic juncture, the CNRP therefore requests that the United Nations follow through with both the spirit and the letter of the 1991 Paris Accords and be present as an observer of an investigation.”

U.N. communications officer Philip Sen confirmed Thursday that the letter had been sent on to Mr. Ban, but that there has not been a response yet.

Mr. Rainsy, who is currently in the U.S. to attend his daughter’s wedding, posted on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon that he is planning to visit U.N. headquarters to talk about the election.

“Sam Rainsy plans to meet senior U.N. officials in New York, U.S., early next week to discuss the election issues in Cambodia,” he said.

CPP lawmakers have rejected U.N. involvement in investigating irregularities at the polls.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith on Sunday emphasized that Cambodia was a sovereign country, and that it was “mature enough” to do an investigation without the U.N.

But critics of the NEC say the body is too partial toward the ruling CPP and cannot be trusted to do an independent job. The NEC will be pushing on with their own probe by forming a three-person subcommittee to investigate electoral irregularities.

Chheang Vun, a CPP lawmaker and spokesman for the National Assembly, said the CNRP’s letter to the U.N. went against the wishes of King Norodom Sihamoni, who on Wednesday called for the two parties to come to a peaceful solution.

“[Sam Rainsy’s] action is making His Majesty the King and the country lose face. It is for his own personal interest, and not for the country’s,” Mr. Vun said.

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