The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has rejected a call from opposition parties for a meeting to discuss the preliminary results of the communal elections and a proposed reform of the National Election Committee (NEC).
Son Chhay, Vice Chairman of the Candlelight Party, had called a meeting with the CPP leadership to discuss the issue, but has no plans to protest the election results.
In a recent interview, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the party leadership had no interest in talking to the opposition, which he said should admit its failures.
The CPP claimed to have won up to 80.71% of the 11,622 communal council seats contested across the Kingdom, while the CP won a total of 2,199 communal council seats.
The other seats were won by the royalist Funcinpec, the Khmer National United Party (KNUP), the Cambodia National Love Party (CNLP), the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP), the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP), the Kampucheaniyum Party (KP ) and the Beehive Social Democratic Party (BSDP).
“If we are meeting to discuss power sharing, why do we have to do to organize elections? The election cost over $60 million to organize,” Eysan said.
He said the opposition should follow the Constitution and accept the election results.
“The Constitution stipulates that the election is based on the will of the people. How can we negotiate to divide the seats after the elections? he said.
But the CP, the Khmer Will Party (KWP) led by Kong Monika and the Kampucheaniyum Party (KP) led by Yem Ponhearith criticized the electoral process.
The PC claimed the elections were not free and fair, accusing the NEC of not being independent and favoring the ruling party.
“When you win seats, you just accept it, but you claim the election was rigged, which led to lawsuits and then flight from the country,” Eysan said, referring to the lawsuit filed by the CPP against Chhay, who is now in Australia.
Last week, the CPP sued Chhay for $1 million over his claims that the ruling party manipulated the communal election.
Additionally, on Friday, NEC member Dim Sovannarom and deputy general secretary Som Sorida filed another lawsuit on behalf of the committee against Chhay in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, accusing him of defamation and demanding a public apology.
The lawsuit was filed after Chhay gave an interview to the Cambodia Daily on June 8 and three days after election day, which was titled “What is normal or irregular in the provisional results of the communal elections?
According to CPP and NEC, Chhay said in the interview, “This time it’s completely controlled by a top-down party, so they can do whatever they want to do. This result doesn’t reflect the will of the people. There was fear, there was vote buying and cheating, so the result for CP was very bad”.
“Some people’s will has been suppressed…we managed to protect some (voters) in time (and managed to win their votes)…We fought, protested what was lost…We can’t let it all go away Chhay reportedly said. during the interview.
In response, Chhay confirmed to local media that he would arrange for a lawyer to handle the complaint in accordance with the law, noting that he would appear in court if a subpoena was issued by the court.
Additionally, at least five parties that participated in the June 5 local elections said they had started meeting to advocate for the reform of the NEC to be independent and improve the environment ahead of the 2023 elections.
These parties are the CP, the KWP, the KP, the GDP and the Cambodian Reform Party (CRP).
But Eysan said this was done by opposition parties because they lost subnational elections.
“When their parties win, they think the NEC is good, but if they lose, then the NEC is bad,” he added.
- Key words: Municipal election 2022, CPP