Prince, Rainsy Rebut Chirac, Ask for Help

In a gentle rebuttal to French President Jacques Chirac, opposition leaders Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy have called for his support in their fight to challenge the provisional outcome of the July 26 polls.

The opposition leaders said in a letter delivered to King Noro­dom Sihanouk that it was “not yet possible to state with certainty what the Cambodian people wanted to express through the July 26 elections.”

The letter was a response to Chirac, who in an Aug 13 letter to the King welcomed the polls’ suc­cess based on the judgment of international obser­vers. “It is now essential that the main political forces of the country work in respect of the will expressed by the Cambodian people,” Chirac said—an appa­rent call for the formation of a coa­lition government.

In the letter, Prince Rana­riddh and Sam Rainsy informed the president that the election was not over until the resolution of more than 800 complaints of poll fraud lodged by the opposition.

They appealed for international observers to continue to monitor the process, including the resolution of the controversy over the seat allocation formula for the National Assembly.

“The three Cambodian NGOs (Comfrel, Coffel, Nicfec) on which the international obser­vers relied on in order to compensate for their own small numbers, ha­ve stated their own doubts about the formula the NEC wants to use,” the letter said.

“It is only when [these issues] are solved with impartiality that the main political forces of the country will be able to work ‘in respect of the will expressed by the Cambodian people.’ In that prospect, we request the assistance of France to help Cambo­dia to restore political stability and progress toward democracy and economic development.”

Earlier this week, the two fi­red off a letter to Fili­pino Fo­reign Se­cretary Domin­go Sia­zon, slam­ming him for his suggestion that political leaders would be “im­moral or irresponsible” if they failed to form a government.

 

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