Prime Minister Hun Sen Thursday defended the National Election Committee against charges of obstructing equal access to the media and attacked foreign observers who criticized Sunday’s elections.
“I believe the NEC has done the right thing,” Hun Sen said in a radio broadcast at the opening of a Japanese-funded road project in Siem Reap province.
A series of political party roundtables and candidate debates were not allowed to air, provoking charges that the committee was obstructing voters’ access to information.
“There are 1,621 communes. If all of them were to air [debates], state TV wouldn’t have enough time to broadcast them,” the prime minister said.
“No country on earth allows political parties on TV for local elections,” he added. Hun Sen did say there should be televised debates for next year’s national election.
He tore into the observation missions from Europe, Asia and the US that concluded the elections were not free or fair because of the violence and lack of equal media access in the pre-election period.
“International standards exist only in sports,” he said, adding that when it comes to elections, every country has a different system of choosing leaders.
“You long noses [Westerners] should study Khmer history again,” he said. “Don’t scorn us; we built Angkor Wat when some countries didn’t have independence and others didn’t even exist.”