It was no surprise, but at least it’s now official: The CPP overwhelmingly won the 2008 national election.
The National Election Committee on Tuesday afternoon released its final official results from the July 27 poll, which didn’t differ from the unofficial tally released by the election body Aug 9.
NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha appeared on state-run TVK to make the announcement, which confirmed the seat count in the next National Assembly to be 90 for the CPP, 26 for the opposition SRP, three for the Human Rights Party, two for Funcinpec and two for the Norodom Ranariddh Party.
The NEC announcement comes after about three weeks of appeals from the SRP and HRP concerning alleged election irregularities they say should have invalidated the unofficial results, at least in some provinces.
The NEC and then the Constitutional Council, the ultimate arbiter of election issues, shot down all opposition complaints. The Council settled the last complaint Thursday, paving the way for Tuesday’s announcement of the official, and final, results.
“We have finished our job,” Tep Nytha said by telephone after the announcement. “We are happy because we have finished our task, which was evaluated as having positive results from NGOs and international observers,” he said.
Most observers, however, said that while this most recent national election was better than previous polls, there were still many problems and the vote fell short of so-called “international standards.”
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the CPP fully accepts the official results. He added that with the election officially over, the party would move forward with trying to form the new government with junior partner Funcinpec.
The opposition, however, continues to reject the results of the election and still plans to boycott the first Assembly session as well as the swearing-in ceremony for lawmakers, scheduled for Sept 24, SRP President Sam Rainsy said Tuesday.
“The National Election Committee is a political tool for the CPP; the CPP already prepared the election result, and the NEC has announced it to make it legal,” he said by telephone.
Sam Rainsy said he would leave for Paris today to begin a tour of European countries to air the opposition’s election grievances. HRP President Kem Sokha is scheduled to join him in Paris on Thursday.
“We will ask [European leaders] to not recognize the election and to not congratulate this election fraud,” Sam Rainsy said.
The NRP released a statement Tuesday from its self-exiled leader, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, that praised the election and appeared to be an attempt to cozy up to the CPP.
“The Norodom Ranariddh Party would like to request the CPP, which has Samdech Hun Sen as its prime minister candidate…to form a new government as soon as possible in order to lead the country towards development and reducing poverty according to the CPP’s political platform,” Prince Ranariddh wrote.
Formed in late 2006, the NRP initially cast itself as an opposition player in the run-up to the election and had rejected the election results in the immediate aftermath of the poll. But more recently, the party reversed its stance on the election, and a party spokesman said Monday that the NRP was now interested in joining a CPP-led government if it could secure the return of Prince Ranariddh, who remains in exile to avoid a prison sentence.