In a joint statement released Friday, the presidents of Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party criticized officials for failing to investigate election violations and said they would file complaints of election fraud to the National Election Committee.
“Serious and numerous violations have occurred throughout the electoral process and the National Election Committee has failed to properly address them,” said the statement, which was signed by Funcinpec head Prince Norodom Ranariddh and opposition president Sam Rainsy.
At a press conference earlier Friday, Sam Rainsy urged foreign election observers to stay in Cambodia until complaints over the fairness of the election are resolved.
“We ask international observers please don’t leave Cambodia too quickly,” he said. “If [election officials] do not address our complaints properly, then we have to make our voice heard including street demonstrations.”
Sam Rainsy said his party should have won one additional National Assembly seat in Banteay Meachey, Svay Rieng and Kompong Thom provinces and in Phnom Penh. But the party was thwarted by technical violations of NEC regulations, which he said were “subtle forms of fraud that foreign [election] observers do not see.”
In each of these places, he said, the party needed only another 0.1 percent to 2.4 percent of the total ballots cast to win additional seats. According to preliminary NEC results, the party won 24 seats.
Sam Rainsy said his party lost ballots because many voters were deliberately confused by last-minute changes to polling station locations, while others showed up to vote only to find their names had already been used. He said election officials delayed providing his party with tally sheets during ballot counting, allowing his rivals to manipulate the figures.
In separate statements US senators John McCain and Sam Brownback also expressed concern over the fairness of the election, citing pre-election intimidation and violence.
“Provocative rhetoric by Cambodian leaders and threats of violence against political opponents do a disservice to the Cambodian people and threaten to nullify their vote for change,” McCain wrote.
Sam Rainsy was scheduled to meet with King Sihanouk on Saturday.