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Sam Rainsy Requests UN as ‘Observer’ in Election Investigation

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

President of National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy, right, gives a speech during his tour visit to Boeung Kak lake area, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013.

President of National Rescue Party Sam Rainsy, right, gives a speech during his tour visit to Boeung Kak lake area, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013.

PHNOM PENH - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has written to the UN secretary-general, requesting that the UN join an investigation into alleged election irregularities in last month’s national polls.

The UN, which sponsored 1991 peace accords that ended decades of war in the country, also oversaw the nation’s first elections, in 1993.

Subsequent elections have seen a number of irregularities favorable to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, rights groups and election monitors have said.

Sam Rainsy said in his letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party wants the UN to “be present as an observer of an investigation” into whether the CPP in fact won the July 28 election.

“The people of Cambodia would benefit significantly from the presence of the UN at this important part of the electoral process, as free and fair elections are basic and crucial criteria for a country to move towards democracy,” Sam Rainsy wrote.

Tep Nitha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, has repeatedly rejected the prospect of international intervention in the investigation process, including the UN.

Chea Vannath, an independent political analyst, said Thursday the UN is not likely to get involved, because the dispute is not between two UN members.

“The best way is for the two winning parties to solve the problem through local institutions,” she said.

Meanwhile, King Norodom Sihamoni has appealed for both sides to find a peaceful way to resolve their conflict over the election.

The ruling CPP and the Rescue Party both contend that they won the election, setting the stage for political deadlock, mass demonstrations or violent clashes.

Kem Sokha, vice president of the Rescue Party, welcomed the king’s message, but he said the way to a peaceful resolution is for the CPP to accept an impartial investigation into alleged election irregularities.

A CPP lawmaker said the opposition is responsible for stirring up its supporters and calling for mass demonstrations if an investigation is not held.
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