Rainsy Election Complaints Raise Little Notice

While the CPP and Funcinpec forged ahead this week with the formation of a new government, opposition leader Sam Rainsy  continued to insist that the elections held in July were fraudulent.

Sam Rainsy this week accused the international community of selling out the people and instal­l­ing a “fake democracy” by de­claring the July elections valid.

“Your votes were stolen and the international community knows it just as well as every Cambodian knows it,” he told several hundred supporters at Sam Rainsy Party headquarters Tuesday. “But they had to say the elections were fair, because they paid for them, and because just as in 1993, everybody knew that Hun Sen threatened war if he did not get his way.”

But the outspoken politician’s complaints raised little response from diplomats and analysts, who indicated Thursday that they just want to move forward.

“The election issue is dead with the formation of the new government,” said Kao Kim Hourn, executive director of the Cam­bo­dian Institute for Cooperation and Peace.

In his Tuesday speech, Sam Rainsy called for reform of the electoral process before the commune elections expected to be held next year. “We will not accept another insult like the last elections.”

The commune elections, originally planned for December 1997, will be the first of their kind in decades and will put seats that have been held by mostly CPP-appointed officials up for grabs. They are planned for 1999 but are expected to be delayed even further because the draft law has been sent back to the Ministry of the Interior for reworking.

Sam Rainsy said he would continue to be a vocal opponent of the government.

“Over the next five years, we are going to keep coming back—in the National Assembly if we can, and on the streets if we have to. We are going to organize ourselves village by village, commune by commune, province by province.”

The Sam Rainsy Party holds 15 seats in the 122-member National Assembly. The party released a statement this week saying that its participation in the parliament is not an acceptance of the election results.

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