Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered authorities to investigate the Situation Room, a consortium of NGOs who voiced criticism of this month’s commune elections, for allegedly violating the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO) and fomenting a “color revolution.”
Speaking at the CPP’s 66th anniversary celebrations on Koh Pich in Phnom Penh, the prime minister ordered Interior Minister Sar Kheng to investigate the Situation Room’s legal status under LANGO.
“[One] issue that needs to be solved next is–what is the Situation Room?” he asked. “In a few days, they made the election results have serious difficulties. Did the Situation Room register with the Ministry of Interior?”
“Do they have a right to create a base like this?” he asked of the group’s election monitoring headquarters. “Or is this base for issuing the principles of a color revolution?”
The group’s post-election critique suggested collusion with the CNRP, according to the prime minister.
“How will they be punished?” he asked.
Sotheara Yoeurng, the law and monitoring officer at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, an NGO participating in the consortium, declined to comment on Mr. Hun Sen’s comments.
“We plan to have an urgent meeting,” he said. “We cannot comment now.”
In a statement released on Saturday, the group was largely positive about the vote itself but said “significant irregularities” prior to the election meant that “elections in Cambodia cannot yet be considered free and fair.”
The group cited political suppression against the opposition, threats of violence from ruling party leaders, biased courts, and unequal media allotment as undermining the quality of the election.