Poll Results to Take 1 Week

Cambodia will have to hold its breath for an entire week beyond election day before results are an­nounced, poll officials said Wed­nesday. 

A lengthy appeals process could mean no overall winner emerges until more than a month after the ballots have been cast.

“We don’t want turbulence caused by a partial result,” Na­tional Election Committee Vice Chairman Kassie Neou said.

No results will be released, he said, until the NEC’s computer has tallied up votes nationwide and allocated all 122 seats in the National Assembly.

“Untac gave a partial result and tanks rolled toward the Untac building. We have taken that experience. We don’t want to risk that again because the NEC does not have any tanks,” he joked.

Others say the NEC will be un­able to stop results from be­ing made public at the provincial level.

“I think that if the NEC doesn’t make any announcement, the parties will,” said Khieu Kan­harith, secretary of state for Info­r­mation and the official CPP spokes­man. “Usually, two days after the elections you can have an idea of who wins.”

Ballot counting will begin in each of the country’s approximately 1,500 communes on Mon­day. Once the count is finished, commune election officials will radio results to the provinces before sending along the counted bal­lot papers for verification.

Provincial committees then have until Wednesday to tally the com­mune numbers and send them to the NEC, which will not re­­lease the results until all numbers are checked and verified.

But as Khieu Kanharith pointed out, party observers at each counting station will know how the vote has gone, and on that ba­sis can calculate where seats are won. The CPP, he said, already has a radio network in place to relay results as they come in.

Thun Saray, president of the Committee for Free and Fair Elec­­tions, questioned the wisdom of withholding the results.

“I don’t know why they wait until the first of August,” he said. “I think they must announce the results province by province.”

Once the results are in, Kassie Neou said he doesn’t expect them to go unquestioned.

“The winners will be happy in their result and the losers will curse us,” he said.

Complainants have 72 hours to lodge their protest with the NEC, which has until Aug 6 to reply. If the results are still contested, appeals can be made to the Constitutional Council. That body has a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 20 to examine complaints, putting the date for the final official results somewhere between Aug 19 and 29.

“August is the month that will be full of turbulence, the month we will be attacked and accused of everything,” Kassie Neou said.



Related Stories

Latest News