Cambodia to set up vote investigation committee

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-8-3 13:26:01

The National Election Committee (NEC), the ruling party and the opposition party on Saturday agreed in principle to establish a joint investigation committee into alleged irregularities during Sunday's general election.

The agreement in principle was made during a trilateral meeting, which was attended by NEC's chairman Im Suosdey, Secretary of State for Interior Prum Sokha, representative of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), and former lawmaker Kuoy Bunroeun, representative of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

"We have agreed to form a joint committee comprising the NEC, the CPP and CNRP in order to investigate the alleged irregularities during the poll," Tep Nytha, NEC's Secretary General, told reporters after the meeting, "the joint committee will be established as soon as possible."

He said all national and international observers would be allowed to monitor the investigation process.

"It is a good decision that can be acceptable to all sides and all voters," he said.

Kuoy Bunroeun confirmed to reporters after the meeting that the joint committee would be set up very soon to investigate vote irregularities on Sunday last week.

The initial election results showed that the CPP of longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen won 68 parliamentary seats and the CNRP of recently-pardoned leader Sam Rainsy got the remaining 55 seats.

The soon-to-be-formed committee came after Sam Rainsy announced Monday that the party did not recognize the results of Sunday poll, claiming widespread fraud, and called for the NEC to establish a joint committee to investigate irregularities.

Sam Rainsy claimed that about 1.3 million voters were unable to vote because their names were not on the voter lists.

In addition, he claimed that there were about 1 million ghost names on the voter lists and about 200,000 duplicate names.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday that his government and party will welcome the joint committee, which allows the participation from political parties, national and international NGOs in order to look into the alleged irregularities.

"This is a positive way to solve the remaining issues and to show transparency and find a solution that can be acceptable to all sides," the premier said.

Hun Sen, who has been in power for 28 years, will extend his power by another five years due to Sunday's victory.

Despite its victory, the overall result in last Sunday's voting was a blow to the ruling CPP as it was able to get only 68 seats, a big drop from the 90 seats it got in the 2008 election.

In Sunday's election, the opposition CNRP showed a dramatic rise in the voters' support by winning 55 seats, up from just 29 seats in 2008.

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