Group Says Stonewalling Discredits Poll

The International Crisis Group,­ a worldwide organization that specializes in the world’s trouble spots, issued a report Thurs­day saying Cambo­dia’s­ stability and the credibility of­ the recent elections are in danger.

In “Cambodia’s Elections Turn Sour,” the ICG said the initial op­timism of the election and counting day has deteriorated, mostly thanks to the National Election Committee and the Constitution­al­ Council’s refusal to thoroughly investigate fraud complaints.

“The patent lack of transparency of these institutions and their stub­born refusal to address serious questions raised by the opposition have stoked the post-polls instability and put the credibility of the electoral process into question,” the report said.

“If corrective steps are not agreed [on], the CPP victory will be permanently tainted in the eyes of many and the party will only have itself to blame.”

Worse, the report, said the po­litical impasse following the elections is destabilizing the country. “As the political battle over the elec­tion outcome grows more fierce, there is a mounting risk that unrest will boil over into violence.”

The ICG condemned the op­po­sition’s “confrontational tactics”­ as “irresponsible and inflammatory,” but said their demands for investigation of fraud complaints are valid.

But the group recommended that Cambodia’s seat in the UN re­­main suspended, as well as Asean membership delayed, un­til a new government is formed and proven to be working peacefully and effectively. “This needs several months to gauge,” it said.

Overall, the report said the elections were a product of Cam­bodia’s political environment. “While the electoral pro­cess was manifestly flawed…Cambodia’s polls were probably the best the country could produce in the circumstances and certainly the best that foreign governments were willing to push for.”

The ICG is a private multinational organization based in Brus­sels. It has missions in numerous countries besides Cambodia.


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