Australian Greens Party Calls for Inquiry Into National Election

The leader of the Australian Greens party on Friday said she has urged Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to support an investigation into allegations of widespread irregularities in last Sunday’s national election.

In October, the Australian Senate tabled a resolution that called on the Cambodian government to “hold free and fair elections in 2013 and to ensure that opposition parties are able to participate fully in Cambodian politics without physical or judicial harassment or intimidation.”

In an interview on Friday with ABC Radio Australia, Greens leader Christine Milne said that as a major aid donor to Cambodia, Australia needs to step up and make known its concerns about the irregularities in Sunday’s election.

“[A]ustralia should be using its position on the international stage to actively support a full and transparent investigation into the electoral irregularities and that needs to be an independent committee with the assistance of the United Nations and NGOs,” Ms. Milne said.

“It’s very clear to me that there are very significant irregularities in the election…. I welcome the fact that there’s now some suggestion that there will be talks and I also hear [CNRP president] Sam Rainsy saying that the objective of those talks is to express, to expose the truth and nothing else and that’s what I would like to see, Australia now stepping up to…say let’s have a look at this, because there are very clear claims that the opposition won this election, and that needs to be really looked at.”

Ms. Milne said she has not yet received a response to her re­quest, which was sent to Australian Labor Party leader Mr. Rudd earlier this week, but that she believes an investigation should happen under the auspices of the U.N.

The National Election Committee (NEC) on Thursday rejected calls by the CNRP to establish an independent investigative body.

“We need to have a full investigation into this election to see whether it is indeed the fact that the Cambodia National Rescue Party did win the election and were denied that victory as a result of these voting irregularities,” Ms. Milne said.

Council of Ministers spokes­man Phay Siphan on Friday said that while he considered Australian political parties to be friends of Cambodia, “they have no powers to order what Cambodia decides.”

“I feel that only an official mechanism—only the NEC officials can decide who is the winner,” Mr. Siphan said.

“We don’t accept anyone’s self claim as a winner. The CPP [claim] is just temporary. We don’t claim that. A self-claim and assumptions don’t help.”

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