A defiant Sam Rainsy lashed out Tuesday at the official election results and the Constitutional Council, telling at least 5,000 supporters near the National Assembly that the nation’s top legal body is “a political tool” of the ruling CPP.
He called for more demonstrations in protest of the election results, which opposition leaders say are the result of fraud.
“Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party do not agree with these results,” Sam Rainsy told the crowd in his late afternoon speech at the opposition sit-in, which entered its ninth day Tuesday. “We have to keep up our struggle. Let us hold another large demonstration next week.”
Aides confirmed that Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party are considering, but have not yet decided on, staging another demonstration similar to the 15,000-strong march on Sunday.
Tuesday’s announcement of official results, which declared the CPP the election winner, came a day after the Constitutional Council rejected almost all the opposition’s appeals alleging election irregularities. Sam Rainsy railed on the decision in his speech.
“We are not surprised at all….We were confident that the Constitutional Council would never rule based on the law. The Constitutional Council is merely a political tool of the yuon puppet party that is attempting to rule the country forever,” he said.
Throughout the election campaign and its aftermath, opposition leaders have portrayed the CPP as an extension of the Vietnamese occupation of the 1980s. The anti-Vietnamese sentiment runs high at the demonstrations, and erupted into the defacing of a Vietnamese friendship monument on Sunday.
So far, no hard evidence of widespread ballot fraud has emerged. National and international election watchdogs have said that both the voting and counting segments of the election went smoothly. They noted, however, that pre-election intimidation may have had a strong effect on the vote’s outcome and some have also called for recounts.
Sam Rainsy on Tuesday repeated allegations that inexperienced election observers missed evidence of fraud.
“The international observers who superficially watched, who did not understand the political situation properly, were too quick to affirm that the election was free and fair,” he said.
“They are afraid of recounting ballots because people could learn the facts,” he said. “If [the CPP] is truly the winner, they must not be afraid of recounting.”
The two opposition parties said Tuesday that they would not participate in the new parliament until their election fraud complaints are addressed and an earlier version of the seat allocation formula is used.
Carrying out that threat would throw the country into a constitutional crisis, with no legal government. Second Prime Minister Hun Sen has said the present government would continue to rule by decree in such a case.