Cambodia’s parliament Thursday appointed a new election committee in a bid to clean-up polls routinely tainted by allegations of fraud and as part of an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen signs his attendance for the National Assembly meeting in Phnom Penh on April 9, 2015. A year-long political stalemate followed polls in 2013 after the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party refused to join parliament alleging they had been cheated out of winning.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy forged a landmark agreement Tuesday that will see the opposition end a one-year boycott of parliament and the ruling party adopt key reforms to the country’s electoral body. The agreement broke a year-long political impasse following disputed July 2013 general elections in which Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) was declared the victor by the government-appointed National Election Committee (NEC) despite allegations of widespread irregularities. The pact was announced in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh after a five-hour meeting between the CPP and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) led by Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy. The agreement led to the immediate release of seven CNRP lawmakers and another opposition politician from jail following their arrest last week on charges of waging an “insurrection” which could see them being imprisoned for up to 30 years if convicted. … In a key compromise that led to the end of the CNRP boycott of parliament, the CPP and CNRP agreed Tuesday that each party could appoint four members to the NEC, with the ninth member to be jointly picked.
Cambodia’s political rivals have held talks, a day after protests in Phnom Penh over contested election results left one person dead. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for 28 years, met opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Monday. They issued a joint statement promising more talks, election commission reform and a non-violent end to the dispute. The opposition has accused the ruling party of widespread fraud in July’s general election. According to results from the National Election Commission, Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won 68 seats to the CNRP’s 55 seats – a greatly reduced majority. The opposition says the vote was rigged and wants an independent inquiry. It also says it will boycott the opening of parliament on 23 September. Despite the joint statement, the central issues of the disputed election and the opposition’s threat to boycott parliament remain unresolved, says the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in neighbouring Bangkok.
Cambodia’s government-appointed election board has ratified the victory of incumbent prime minister Hun Sen’s ruling party, rejecting opposition claims that the polls were unfair. The results announced on state television on Sunday morning handed 68 National Assembly seats to Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s party and 55 to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue party.
Cambodia’s National Election Commission (NEC) on Monday confirmed that the ruling party has narrowly won the general election. Announcing the preliminary official results, The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)-controlled National Election Commission (NEC) said that the CPP won 3.2 million votes against the Opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), which secured 2.9 million votes. The final allocation of seats in the 123-member lower house of parliament has not been announced, but CPP claims it has secured at least 68 seats. Sunday’s was the worst result for the ruling party in 15 years, which is an indication of the dwindling popularity of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for nearly three decades, reports said.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday he would push to form a new government even if the opposition tries to block the process, suggesting that his party could force an end to a standoff over disputed election results. His Cambodian People’s Party and the country’s main opposition group are currently deadlocked with competing claims to victory in Sunday’s vote—an impasse that some political observers fear could last for months and delay the formation of a new parliament and government. But Mr. Hun Sen, already prime minister for 28 years, insisted that his party had enough lawmakers—after preliminary results show it won 68 out of 123 parliamentary seats—to form a new government. His comments contradict claims by some legal experts who say the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which won 55 seats in the initial count, could block a new parliament by declining to take its seats. “We only need 63 seats to form a government,” said Mr. Hun Sen, 60 years old, while visiting farmers in Kandal province, which surrounds the capital, Phnom Penh.
Cambodia: Prime Minister offers talks with opposition over election complaints, would support probe | The Washington Post
Cambodia’s long-serving prime minister said Wednesday that his party was willing to talk with the opposition to resolve complaints that last weekend’s general election was unfair. The gesture, from a leader not usually given to compromise, represents an acknowledgement that his opponents’ strong showing in the polls could threaten his grip on power. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party has claimed that it won 68 parliamentary seats to the opposition’s 55 in Sunday’s election according to provisional official results. However, the opposition, which increased its number of seats from 29 in the last National Assembly, could boycott the opening of parliament, leaving the lawmaking body short of a quorum and stymieing the formation of a new government.
Cambodia: Government rejects election inquiry creating unrest amid fraud accusations | NY Daily News
Cambodia’s government rejected on Tuesday calls by the opposition for an international inquiry into allegations it used massive fraud to win re-election, and said it wanted parliament to approve a new cabinet quickly. The United States and European Union expressed concern about irregularities in Sunday’s election but both said an investigation should be conducted by Cambodian electoral authorities, failing to endorse the opposition’s call for an inquiry involving the United Nations. The government announced on Sunday that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen had won 68 seats in the 123-seat parliament, a sharp fall from its previous tally of 90. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) nearly doubled its seat total to 55, in a major surprise and a setback for Hun Sen.
Cambodia faces a volatile and possibly prolonged political standoff after leaders of the opposition said on Monday that they rejected the preliminary results of Sunday’s election and accused the authoritarian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen of large-scale cheating to achieve a relatively narrow victory. With a number of monitoring organizations describing widespread voting irregularities, Sam Rainsy, the leader of the newly energized opposition, said at a news conference that the party would seek help from foreign and Cambodian election experts to decide whether to call for a recount or new elections. “We will not accept the result — we cannot accept the result,” he said. “The party in power cannot ignore us anymore.” Mr. Sam Rainsy had initially announced a victory after the polls closed on Sunday but retracted his claim.
Cambodia’s opposition leader on Monday rejected the results of a weekend election showing a win for the long-time ruling party, raising fears of post-poll instability and setting the stage for a new showdown with Prime Minister Hun Sen. The challenge by opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who returned from exile last week to campaign for his Cambodia National Rescue Party, comes despite his party’s relative success in Sunday’s polling, in which the opposition made its biggest gains in years. Provisional results from Sunday’s voting showed the opposition capturing 55 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party won 68 seats, or a majority of 55 percent.
A decade and a half after the last remnants of the Khmer Rouge capitulated in this northwestern town, the streets are festooned with images of their erstwhile enemy, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is seeking to prolong his 28 years in power in an election on Sunday. In one of the many shifting allegiances of post-genocide Cambodia, former Khmer Rouge soldiers proclaim loyalty to Mr. Hun Sen, who drove them from power in 1979 alongside invading Vietnamese forces, ending their murderous attempt to build a peasant utopia. After retreating here and fighting Mr. Hun Sen well into the 1990s, Khmer Rouge veterans today credit the prime minister with orchestrating peace, building roads and schools, and helping turn Anlong Veng, once shrouded in jungle and studded with land mines, into a moderately prosperous town. This last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge now has 3G Internet access.
Campaigning in Cambodia’s general election is nearing its close as the eight parties contesting the ballot make their final bids for votes ahead of Sunday’s poll. The real contest, though, is between two parties: the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party whose leader Sam Rainsy recently returned from four years of self-imposed exile. The day after his triumphant arrival in Phnom Penh last Friday, opposition leader Sam Rainsy began a whirlwind nationwide tour with party deputy Kem Sokha. Sam Rainsy is the best known and most popular opposition figure, and in a nation that values personality over policy, the opposition CNRP is banking that his presence will translate into gains at the ballot box. Meanwhile, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen has been playing up the animosity that characterized the relationship between Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha in recent years to portray an opposition divided.
Cambodia: Exiled opposition leader returns home to spearhead election campaign against Hun Sen | Telegraph
“I have come home to rescue the country,” Rainsy told the crowd gathered at the Phnom Penh airport, after kneeling to kiss the ground. “I am happy to be here!” Rainsy told the crowd speaking through a microphone as the supporters chanted, “We want change!” The French-educated leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party has been in exile since 2009 to avoid serving 11 years in prison on charges many consider politically motivated. Rainsy, 64, received a royal pardon last week at the request of Hun Sen, his bitter rival whose ruling party is almost certain to maintain its ironclad grip on power in the July 28 general election.
Campaigning is well underway in Cambodia with prospective MPs seeking to impress the voting public, and convoys of party faithful parading through the streets in near carnival fashion. Elections in Cambodia are noisy, colourful affairs but critics complain the elections are tilted sharply towards Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). The CPP has 90 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly. John Sifton from Human Rights Watch addressed the US Congress this week and said Cambodia is on a precipice. “Over 30 years since the mass crimes against humanity and genocide that occurred, the country’s civil and political situation remains highly problematic,” he said.
Cambodia’s opposition leader, who lives in self-imposed exile abroad, has vowed to return to the country, in a move his party hailed Sunday as a boost to its chances in elections this month. Sam Rainsy, seen as the main challenger to strongman Hun Sen, promised to travel to Cambodia “before the election day” on July 28 in a video posted on his Facebook page. “The presence of Sam Rainsy will encourage voters to believe in CNRP (Cambodia National Rescue Party),” said opposition spokesman Yim Sovann. Rainsy’s presence would “create a strong force that would make a change and bring a positive result for the country”, he said, adding that the opposition leader was working to set a date for his return.
Scuttlebutt is not normally a major part of the stock-in-trade for journalists covering elections. But in countries like Cambodia with an absence of opinion polls, access to government ministers and the usual spin doctors attempting to mold public opinion, gossip can be as good as it gets. And the rumor mill around Phnom Penh is thriving. The impressions are daunting. Increasingly, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) looks paranoid, even delusional, despite widespread expectations that it will easily win the July 28 poll, albeit with a reduced majority. This was typified over the weekend. On Friday the government announced what effectively amounted to a ban on foreign radio broadcasts inside the country in order “to ensure fair and unbiased media coverage” of the election campaign. The ban was dropped just two days later following a chorus of international criticism, led by Washington, which made CPP strategists blush.
Cambodia’s ruling party looks to have won a landslide win in local elections, putting authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen on course to remain one of the world’s longest-serving leaders after parliamentary elections next year. Official results from Sunday’s elections for the chiefs of areas known as communes are not expected for several weeks but the major parties were in agreement that Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had swept the polls, as it has in all national ballots in the past decade. The CPP claimed 72 percent of the seats in what it sees as a test of support ahead of the 2013 election. General elections take place every five years. “These results show a landslide victory,” top CPP member of parliament Cheam Yeap told Reuters. “This is a basic projection for the parliamentary election in the middle of next year.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party was expected to win Cambodia’s local elections yesterday in a vote that monitors say is tainted by vote buying and other irregularities. The elections for local governing councils across the country are viewed as the key indicator of public opinion ahead of general elections in 2013. Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party has ruled Cambodia for nearly three decades. It has strong rural support and overwhelmingly won both previous local elections in 2002 and 2007. Preliminary results from Sunday’s vote were expected by Monday.
Cambodia: Ruling party secures expected victory in Senate elections closed to general public | The Washington Post
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party secured an expected victory at Senate elections Sunday, according to preliminary results following the vote that was closed to the general population and criticized for lacking credibility. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party won almost 78 percent of votes, while the opposition Sam Rainsy Party won almost 22 percent, Election Commission chairman Im Suosdey told reporters. Official results were expected Feb. 4. The 61-seat Senate has no power to amend or veto legislation and is widely seen as an ineffectual body that rubber-stamps bills from the lower house, or National Assembly, which the ruling party dominates.