International monitors, observers and rights groups stopped
short of calling Sunday's polls unfree or unfair this week, though at least one
mission said the parliamentary election did not meet international standards.
monitoring mission supported the election as credible, while EU observers said many
irregularities, including intimidation, vote-buying and unfair use of the media
by the ruling party marred the election standards.
"The [Japanese] mission members witnessed no violent
activities, intimidation or irregularities that may undermine the overall
credibility of the election," the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.
"The Mission considers that the 2008
National Assembly election has shown[n] an impression internally and externally
for its democratic advancement in the Kingdom of Cambodia."
Irregularities took place ahead of and on Election Day, said
Martin Callanan, chief observer of the EU Election Observation Mission. The CPP
used state resources and government property to campaign and swayed voters with
money and gifts, he said.
Election booths allowed the use of unauthorized
identification forms, and about 50,000 voter names were omitted from
registries, he told VOA Khmer.
Asked whether the elections were free and fair, Callanan
said he had no role in that decision, which was up to the Cambodian people to
Voters turned out in a "peaceful and orderly way"
on Sunday, Callanan added in a statement. "It is disappointing that this
commitment was not reflected in the overall electoral process, which fell short
of a number of key international standards."
The Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair
Elections in Cambodia
said Tuesday the election had been "administered well and largely free of
intimidation and violence."
But the election was also "marred" by a number of
irregularities, including the omission of a "significant" number of
voter names for registries.
In sample observations of 378 polling stations, the group
said, at least a quarter of them "reported more than five cases of voters
who had proper identity documents but could not find their names on the voters
"Since many voters who could not find their names on
the list did not bother to enter the polling station, this figure likely
under-represents the true scale of the problem," Nicfec said.
spokesman said that while their appeared to be "some irregularities,"
the "vast majority" of Cambodians were able to express their will.
"Of course we are concerned about the irregularities
that were spoken out today by some of the parties and right now we are
coordinating with the impartial and neutral observers from the embassy and from
the other international observing of another country to see if can understand
what those were,” US Embassy spokesman John Johnson told VOA Khmer.
"We are aware that some political parties have raised
questions about the electoral process, and it appears that there were some
irregularities which prevented some Cambodians from expressing their will,
although the vast majority was able to do so," Johnson added in an e-mail.
"There are existing mechanisms by which these parties can address their concerns
and we encourage them to work within this framework. However, we remain
concerned about the irregularities and are coordinating with Embassy and other
neutral observers to further our understanding of them."
Mar Sophal said, chief of monitoring for the Committee for
Free and Fair Elections, said around 60,000 voter names were omitted from voter
National Election Committee Secretary-General Tep Nitha said
58,500 names were deleted from voter registries ahead of the elections, but
that number had been exaggerated by some.
"If they say there are 2 million names missing, it
could be an exaggerated number from a political party or NGOs," he said.
Ahead of the elections, Human Rights Watch had cautioned
observers to monitor the elections carefully.
had a "real history" of Election-Day problems, as well as
irregularities ahead of the polls, Sophie Richardson, an advocacy director for
the group based in Washington,
told VOA Khmer Friday.
Ahead of the elections, monitors noted that the campaign
period had seen seven murders and 56 cases of physical abuse.
The UN's rights office issued a statement Tuesday claiming
it found "no credible evidence" of political motivation in the