Monday, July 28, 2008

Landslide victory for CPP

The preliminary results from the election is, according to COMFREL (the Committee for free and fair elections in Cambodia):

Cambodian People's Party 58.22%
Sam Rainsy Party 21.85%
Human Rights Party 6.37%
Norodom Ranariddh Party 5.67%
Funcinpec Party 5.04%

These five parties will get seats in the parliament. According to a recently adopted law, a party needs a simple majority to form a government on their own (before they needed two thirds of the votes). This means that CPP now for the first time can form a government without a coalition. The Cambodia Daily reports today that according to CPP calculating they would win 91 of the 123 seats, leaving SRP with 26, HRP with three, NRP with two and Funcinpec with one.

I haven't figure out how this works, I find it more logical that CPP would get 74 seats when they have won 60% of the votes that leads to Assembly seats.

The other parties who took part in the election where League for Democracy Party (1.27% according to COMFREL's preliminary result), Khmer Democratic Party (0.55%), Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party (0.43%), Society of Justice Party (0.23%), Khmer Republican Party (0.20%) and Khmer Anti-Poverty Party (0.16%).

In Svay Rieng where I was observing the election CPP are very popular. In the polling station where I observed the counting after the election was closed, they got 402 of the 505 votes (79.60%). According to Cambodian law the parties are not allowed to transport any voters to the election. CPP arranged transport from Phnom Penh to Svay Rieng for around 7500 voters, around 150 trucks each carrying 50 people arrived on Saturday and Sunday. When we asked the truck drivers about who was paying, most of them said they didn't know, one said "maybe some parties, but I don't know which ones...", one said he didn't want to answer to that question since he did not want to die and one answered "Cambodian People's Party pays. But I am afraid to tell you this." A woman from Svay Rieng, who was working as an election official, said that the village chief from her village had spread the word before the election that people who has relatives in Phnom Penh who are registered to vote in Svay Rieng should tell them that CPP will arrange transport for free.

Another reported problem is voters deleted from the list (wich means they were not able to vote). This has been a problem mainly in the cities and above all in Phnom Penh where Sam Rainsy Party wants a re-election to be held. Cambodia Daily reports that they are worried they have lost as many as 60 000 voters in Phnom Penh because of this. COMFREL said on their press conference this morning that they don't have the exact number of deleted registered voters, but the preliminary approximation is 50 to 60 000 voters in total (all over Cambodia).

Another foreign observer for COMFREL told us during the conference that he had spoken to people who had found their names on the list the day before the election, and then had found them deleted the next day. He had also met people who had their name on the list outside the polling station, but not inside.

On the question if this was a free and fair election COMFREL's president, Thun Saray, answered that it was not free and fair according to "western standards" and that it was too early to say if it was free and fair in "a Cambodian context".

Note: The final results from the election is 90 seats for CPP, 26 for SRP, 3 for Human Rights Party, and 2 seats each for the royalist parties Funcinpec and Norodom Ranariddh Party. (Radio Australia, September 2nd)

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