Low voter turnout and the absence of many names from
registries darkened a quiet day of voting Sunday, as millions of Cambodians
sought to elect members of the National Assembly and a government that will
rule for the next five years.
Unofficial results showed the ruling Cambodian People's
Party with enough seats to form a government by itself, as well as pass
constitutional amendments and quorum without cooperation from other parties.
As polling wrapped up Sunday, unofficial results showed the CPP
leading with an estimated 91 seats, followed by the Sam Rainsy Party with 26, Human Rights Party with three, and
Norodom Ranariddh Party with two. Only one seat was reported late Sunday for the
government's coalition partner, Funcinpec.
These results would mean the National Assembly would have five parties for the first time since the 1993 Untac election. Official results for the election are not expected for at least a month.
A new law this election requires the holding of 50-percent-plus-one
seats, or 63 seats, to form a ruling government. It also requires a two-thirds
majority, or 82 seats, for constitutional amendment and quorum.
In Phnom Penh,
many shops were shuttered and the normally bustling boulevards were relatively
still, while on neighborhood side streets, Cambodians in ones and twos strolled
to and from polling sites.
Across the country, voters reported an inability to cast
their ballots, as names of individuals or entire families were missing from
local registries at polling places.
More than 8.1 million voters had registered for the national
election, but monitors feared only around 70 percent participated,
following similarly low turnout in the 2007 commune election. More than 83 percent of registered voters took part in 2003's general election.
The Committee for Free and Fair Elections said late Sunday
the day had "serious problems," including the loss of names to voter
lists and confusion over polling station locations.
Some parties had transported voters in vehicles on Saturday
and distributed gifts to voters, violations of election regulations, Comfrel
Military police were seen using vehicles to transport voters in Battambang province, where disputes
between opposition and ruling party activists erupted.
In Svay Rieng province, voters lined up inside CPP
headquarters in order to receive receipts from a party official. Voters said
later they would be reimbursed with gifts for the receipts, an allegation the
CPP denied. Svay Rieng results showed nearly 100 percent of seats going to the