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NGOs, Opposition Meet Over Recent Election

NGOs and opposition officials met Thursday to discuss lessons from April's local election, seeking ways to curb voter intimidation and ensure regulations are closely followed in the 2008 national elections.

Opposition lawmakers said the Cambodian People's Party had intimidated voters by threatening to take away benefits if the party lost the elections. The CPP won an overwhelming majority of commune chief seats in this year's election.

CPP officials say they won fairly, but opposition and smaller parties have complained the election's run-up and polling day were unfair.

"I'll give an example," SRP lawmaker Kuoy Bun Roeun told VOA Khmer. "It was said that if the ruling party did not win, meaning it lost the election, tens of thousands of projects would be cancelled, and Cambodia might face insecurity. This is pressure on voters that makes it difficult for them to make a decision at their will."