Funcinpec ‘Totally Rejects’ Gov’t White Paper On Violence

Funcinpec issued a scathing response Tuesday to a government policy statement that argued that opposition leaders deliberately sought violent confrontation during last month’s election-result protests.

“Funcinpec totally rejects the government’s interpretation of the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators,” the statement said, adding that the government was “totally distorting the truth and refusing to take any responsibility in the brutal use of force taken by police to disperse the non-violent demonstrators.”

Funcinpec again demanded investigations into election complaints as well as into the violence during the demonstrations.

“Protecting such a frail democracy requires neutral investigations when violations and injustice have occurred. Denial and total repression are not the an­swer and will only be of disservice to the nation.”

A government white paper issued Friday, titled “The De­fense of Young Democracy in Cambodia,” characterized the opposition’s complaints of election fraud as petty and blamed opposition leaders for the two deaths and dozens of injuries that resulted when armed police cracked down on demonstrators.

Funcinpec’s response Tuesday said that although the polling and counting days of the election were deemed clean by international and Cambodian observers, the entire election process was tainted by the CPP.

“The stage for the CPP to manipulate the results of the July 1998 elections had been set up a long while before. The major illegal steps of that process included the breakup of the major political parties and the July 1997 coup d’etat.”

The elections were held after self-exiled opposition leaders, who fled after clashes between Funcinpec and CPP troops effectively ousted Funcin­pec’s Prince Norodom Ranariddh as first premier, were allowed to return.

The CPP won 41 percent of the popular vote in the elections ahead of nominal opposition allies Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party, who split the opposition vote and got 32 and 14 percent respectively.

The two parties are demanding that the National Election Com­mittee and Consti­tu­tional Council investigate their fraud complaints. The two legal bodies have so far rejected complaints with scant investigation.


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