Opposition Head Sokha Mocks CPP Election Victory Claims

CNRP President Kem Sokha on Wednesday mocked the CPP’s claims of victory in Sunday’s commune elections in which the ruling party compared the number of votes they won in this year’s local race with their vote tally in the 2013 national election.

Speaking in Prek Koy commune in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, where the CNRP won more than double the votes of the CPP, Mr. Sokha said that the CPP’s boasts of electoral gains from 2013 to this year were like comparing a motorcycle race with a car race.

CNRP President Kem Sokha greets supporters on Wednesday in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district, in this photograph posted to his Facebook page.

“They know that they’ve lost but they console their fellows, ‘We don’t lose but we increase [our votes],’” he said in his first public appearance since Sunday’s vote.

“It’s motorcycle racing,” he added. “So how does motorcycle racing compare with car racing?”

The CPP won 1,158 communes to the CNRP’s 487, according to CPP spokesman Sok Eysan on Tuesday night.

CPP lawmaker Suos Yara, writing in a post on Wednesday on the government-aligned website Fresh News, also said the ruling party had won 51 percent, or 3.5 million votes, of the popular vote while the CNRP won 44 percent, or 3 million votes.

Mr. Sokha was happy to point out his own party’s gains compared to the combined votes won by the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party, which merged after the elections in 2012 to form the CNRP.

That year, the two opposition parties won just 40 communes. The CPP got 1,592.

Noting the number of comunes won by the CPP this week—down by 434 from before—Mr. Sokha questioned whether the ruling party should even be claiming victory.

Mr. Eysan pointed out that the ruling party won twice as many communes as the opposition, and increased its number of popular votes compared to the 2013 election. “Yes, we have lost some battles, but we won the war as a whole,” he said.

CNRP Vice President Eng Chhay Eang, also in Kandal province, said the party winning 12 out of 16 communes in Sa’ang district put them in a good position for next year’s National Election.

“For 2017, people changed the old foundation by replacing [it with] the new foundation of the CNRP,” he said. “So I’m confident that in the election of 2018, our brothers and sisters in Sa’ang district will remove the rotten roof and replace it with a new roof.”

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