Official results released by the National Election Committee (NEC) on Monday suggest that some provinces came down to only hundreds of votes in the July 28 national election.
An election monitoring group said that considering that the opposition CNRP has alleged large-scale irregularities at the polls, the fine margins involved in some provinces made the need for an in-depth investigation into the results vital.
The NEC, which released unofficial and incomplete results the day after the election, on Monday released its first official, but still preliminary, results.
Although the NEC itself is yet to tell the public what the results would mean in terms of seats, an analysis of the figures using a formula stipulated in the election law shows that both sets of figures released by the election body have concurred with the CPP’s own results—which showed the ruling party won by 68 seats to the CNRP’s 55 seats.
The latest results give 3,235,969 votes to the CPP, or 48.83 percent of the total votes cast. The CNRP has 2,946,176 votes, or 44.46 percent of the popular vote, according to the figures.
While the CNRP has itself claimed it won the election outright, going by the NEC results, the opposition would need an additional seven National Assembly seats to overturn a CPP majority.
In Kandal province, where the CNRP took six seats to the CPP’s five, the opposition would have needed just 166 more votes, or 0.03 percent of the total votes, to change that result to seven to four.
In Siem Reap, which the CPP won by four seats to two, 4,083 additional votes, or just 1 percent of voters, for the CNRP would mean one seat would change hands.
In Battambang, 16,459 votes, or under 4 percent of the votes, would have reduced the CPP’s five-three victory to a tie.
In Phnom Penh, 4.39 percent of the votes, or 28,882 votes, would have given the CNRP an extra seat to add to its 7 to 5 victory.
In Kratie, where the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) has questioned NEC and CPP results showing the CPP with enough votes to take two of the three seats, the NEC results show the CNRP would need an extra 11,278 votes to overturn the result.
In other provinces, the CPP came close to taking extra seats, with 35,855 votes, or about 4 percent of voters, in Kompong Cham it needed to make that province nine seats each, rather than 10 to eight to the CNRP.
In Banteay Meanchey and Svay Rieng provinces, just more than 5 percent of votes—or 13,237 and 15,942 votes, respectively—would have taken an extra seat from the CNRP and moved it into the hands of the CPP.
Thun Saray, chairman of Comfrel’s board of directors, said that the close results showed how important an independent investigation was.
“In Siem Reap and Kratie and elsewhere, we need to investigate more deeply to find a final result,” Mr. Saray said, suggesting that the extremely fine margin in Kandal, combined with complaints of irregularities in that province, might mean a recount would be required.
“They also need to look at all the large provinces,” he said.
© 2013, The Cambodia Daily. All rights reserved No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission.