Opposition Cites ‘Serious Concerns’ in Poipet

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Monday afternoon his party will de­mand a recount at some polling stations as well as a re-vote in Poipet town, O’Chrou district, Banteay Meanchey prov­ince, citing “serious concerns” over the fairness of Sun­day’s general elections.

Ac­cording to preliminary re­sults, he said at a news conference, the Sam Rainsy Party was showing strength in Phnom Penh, as well as in Kandal, Bat­tambang, Banteay Meanchey and Kom­pong Cham provinces. But he noted many “irregularities” in the voting and ballot-counting pro­cess.

Sam Rainsy said election officials were considering some ballots invalid, even though they appeared to indicate support for his party, because they had not been marked properly.

“[The ballot counters] did not try to understand the will of the voters,” he said. “The will of the people appeared very clearly that they wanted to vote SRP.”

He added that voter fraud was rampant Sunday as many people showed up to vote, only to find their names had already been used and their ballots cast by someone else. “We have evidence to demand that these irregularities be ad­dressed,” he said. “We will ask for a recount for some of the voting stations.”

In Poipet, where the opposition claims to have a great deal of support, more than 50 percent of the town’s 50,000 eligible voters did not cast their ballots because officials had changed the locations of polling stations to “confuse the voters,” Sam Rainsy said.

“This is unacceptable,” he said. “This was done on purpose be­cause everyone knows that Poi­pet is a SRP stronghold.”

He did not provide further details but said the party would launch a complaint to election officials and will ask for a re-vote for the region.

He also criticized the National Election Committee for failing to adequately inform voters of when and where to register for the election. He refuted the NEC’s voter turnout estimate of 83 percent, saying less than 80 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots.

“The will of the Cambodian people was not fully expressed,” he said. “Sometimes, the NEC has failed its job to inform voters properly.”

Sam Rainsy said his party had made inroads in parts of the country where people enjoyed higher standards of living and better lines of communication. Still, he said, he was cautious about claiming any success for his party.


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