battambang town – With Funcinpec agents from just three districts returning their results to the party headquarters, Funcinpec candidate Prince Sisowath Sirirath was reluctant to make predictions Tuesday afternoon.
He conceded defeat in Svay Pao district, where Sam Rainsy appeared to have taken the lead, but said he believed the race for the province would be fought between Funcinpec and the CPP.
“It is neck-and-neck,” he said, citing the views of party workers, “but now we have a third player like Sam Rainsy who has split the vote from Funcinpec. If there were no Sam Rainsy Party, then Funcinpec would lead the CPP all the way.”
At CPP headquarters, Tes Heanh, senior provincial party member, was predicting a CPP win for the province, but added they did not yet have information from individual districts. He expected figures from the remote areas to arrive today. But he was still hoping for four of the province’s eight seats.
“We should get more than 40 percent,” he said, “Funcinpec will get 31 percent and Sam Rainsy 25 percent.”
In Sam Rainsy Party headquarters, party activists were charting the vote.
“The exact figures, we didn’t receive yet, but we hope our party has got a competitive voice based on the preliminary results we have,” said the party’s vice president, Doung Chhiet.
He said the prediction could not be confirmed, as the results from some districts were unclear.
“According to our observers, the result showed that we are leading in a majority of districts,” Doung Chhiet said. “But it is not yet official.”
Most of the ballots were said to have been sent to the provincial election commission. But some are still being kept in the commune, he said, because the count is not yet complete, especially in remote areas, he said.
Sam Rainsy Party observers would be guarding the boxes overnight, but officials worried they were running out of money to pay observers guarding boxes.
Doung Chhiet also was concerned with decisions over spoiled ballots. He said some ballots that were carelessly ticked—but in his view still correct—were refused by the commune election authorities. He said he would take his concern to the provincial election commission today.