The National Election Committee (NEC) on Monday morning released its first official election results, which were nearly identical to unofficial results released by the NEC in the days following the election, showing a clear CPP victory in the July 28 poll.
Reacting to the results, the opposition CNRP said it would not accept the NEC’s findings and that releasing results before irregularities have been resolved would render the body responsible of any unrest that may occur in the future.
The official preliminary results showed a slight increase in the total number of votes for the opposition CNRP and for the ruling CPP. According to the NEC, the CPP received 3,235,969 votes nationwide, while the CNRP received 2,946,176 votes.
The opposition party won the majority of seats in the country’s four largest constituencies of Kompong Cham, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng and Kandal, while the ruling CPP won the majority of seats in the remaining provinces.
With only slight changes to earlier results, the preliminary figures from the NEC appear to support the CPP’s claim to victory, with 68 seats compared to 55 for the CNRP. The results will be challenged by the CNRP, which claims to have won 63 seats to 60 for the CPP.
Based on early results from the NEC, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia said that 67 seats went to the CPP while 56 went to the CNRP.
At a press conference held almost immediately after the NEC released results, CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha said that his party did not accept the NEC’s findings. By releasing the results in the midst of negotiations between the CPP and CNRP over the formation of a committee to investigate election irregularities, Mr. Sokha said that the NEC was encouraging mass demonstrations by opposition supporters.
“The standing committee of the CNRP, which conducted a meeting this morning, is disappointed and would like to oppose the NEC’s preliminary results,” he said. “By making this announcement, the NEC is completely responsible for any uprisings or demonstrations that lead to political unrest.”
CNRP President Sam Rainsy left the country on Tuesday to take part in his daughter’s wedding in Boston. CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said at the press conference that Mr. Rainsy will be back by the end of the week. Prime Minister Hun Sen has remained out of the public eye since he delivered a nationally televised speech on August 2.
Mr. Rainsy has said that the opposition party would hold mass demonstrations as a last resort if the CPP and NEC refuse to back calls for an independent and impartial investigation into what he alleges was widespread manipulation of voter lists and election fraud orchestrated by the CPP.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng has said that protests of the election result would be met by “trouble” if the CNRP refuses to return to the negotiating table and “consequences” for protest leaders if demonstrations turn violent.
In his August 2 speech, Mr. Hun Sen said that if the CNRP boycotts the National Assembly in protest of the election results, their 55 parliamentary seats could legally be given to the CPP.
© 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.