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Congressman Worried for Unfair Election

A US Congressman expressed concern for Cambodia's election, claiming the process has not been free and fair.

Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat in the House of Representatives for Maryland, told VOA Khmer this year's election process in Cambodia had been full of violence and inequality.

"The United States government does not view the election process as being free and fair," he said.

The outcome will not be legitimate without a fair process, he said. The process so far had been painted with "abuse" and "strong-arm tactics," he said.

US Embassy spokesman John Johnson said that the election process in Cambodia has been getting better since the election in 1993.

Most observers agree that the process has been smoother this time around, but parties have still complained of intimidation and violence, and the campaign period was marred by the murder of an opposition journalist earlier this month.

Van Hollen said he was very sorry for the death of Moneasekar Khmer reporter Khim Sambor and his son and called for Cambodian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Those who committed the crime, "who engaged in political violence like this," must be held accountable, he said.

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Robert A. Sieple, said he hoped the election process in Cambodia will not be a cause violence or lead to the arrest of non-ruling party activists.

Om Yientang, a senior advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told VOA Khmer recently the elections were improving in Cambodia and had been equal for all political parties.