The NEC has released it’s final tally from Cambodia’s first ever commune council elections, officially confirming a landslide victory for the CPP. Funcinpec won the second highest number of seats with the Sam Rainsy Party placing third.
The CPP won control of 1,597 of the country’s 1,621 communes in the Feb 3 elections, while the Sam Rainsy Party and Funcinpec won control of 13 and 10 respectively. Though the Sam Rainsy Party won control of more communes than Funcinpec, the royalist party won 2,209 seats on commune councils, while the Sam Rainsy Party won only 1,345. The little known Khmer Democratic Party won control of one commune in Kampot province.
NEC Secretary-General Im Suosdey said that in all there were 11,252 winning candidates, 951 of whom were women. Some observers had hoped to see some 3,000 successful women candidates.
In a presentation given at the end of the NEC’s three day conference for the Evaluation of the Election Process, UN Development Program Resident Representative Dominique AitOuyahia-McAdams said that she welcomes, “the arrival of 951 women and the three and a half thousand non-CPP members into the commune council ranks,” and requested that the government ensure a smooth transition of power.
“However,” AitOuyahia-McAdams said, “we cannot ignore the incidences of violence and intimidation that occurred in the lead up to the election, or the unbalanced media reporting during the campaign period.”
She added that the NEC’s “reluctance to impose legal sanctions allowed the climate of impunity that exist in Cambodia to prevail during the election process.”
Co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng contended that the commune elections went smoothly and without any occurrences of insecurity during the balloting. He claimed that no killings prior to the election were politically motivated.
But pre-election violence remains the biggest criticism of the elections. UN human rights envoy Peter Leuprecht said Friday he would “still insist very much on proper and serious investigations off all [cases of violence],” and said the lack of separation between the CPP and the government damaged the fairness of the elections.
(Additional reporting by Seth Meixner)