Sokha: CNRP Result ‘Brilliant,’ Mocks CPP

CNRP President Kem Sokha mocked the ruling party on Monday for its spending during the June 4 commune elections, while praising his own party’s thriftiness during the campaign season.

The opposition leader used a speech on Monday welcoming newly elected CNRP commune chiefs in Tbong Khmum province to needle the CPP’s performance earlier this month.

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Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks to CNRP youth members at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh last year, in a photograph posted to his Facebook page.

“If we compare what we have and what they have, we see we have much fewer resources,” Mr. Sokha said. “Even though they persecuted us, our result is brilliant.”

A presentation prepared by the independent Committee for Free and Fair Elections and presented to the group of election-monitoring NGOs dubbed the “Situation Room” on Saturday estimated that the ruling CPP spent $24.7 million during the campaign—more than four times as much as the $5.6 million estimated spending for the opposition CNRP.

Mr. Sokha’s speech came the day after the National Election Committee (NEC) released the official results for the commune elections, which showed that the CPP received 3.54 million votes compared to 3.06 million for the CNRP.

“For their party, they said they have 5 million members,” Mr. Sokha said, quoting a common number given by CPP officials for their countrywide membership. “They have 5 million people, but we only saw 3 million. Where were the other 2 million lost to?”

Mr. Sokha also mentioned the supposed defections of thousands of CNRP supporters to the ruling party, which often took place at formal ceremonies that were covered breathlessly by government-aligned Fresh News and featured headlines such as “Losing Their Faith in the Leader” and “CNRP Continues to Split!”

“Before election, they broadcast on TVs or radios and say, ‘CNRP supporters are defecting, in this village 100 people, in that commune 1,000 people,’” Mr. Sokha said. “We only heard about defection, but [during the election] 3 million people joined with the CNRP.”

CPP spokesman Chhim Phal Virun declined to comment, saying that he would only speak to a reporter if his statement was published in its entirety.

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