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CPP Takes Large Margin in Council Election

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party won a wide majority of municipal, district and provincial council seats after polls Sunday.

The opposition Sam Rainy Party took around 20 percent of the 3,261 seats, followed by Funcinpec and the Norodom Ranariddh Party, which took about 2 percent each.

The voting, undertaken by 11,353 members of commune councils nationwide, was a step toward decentralization. Councils will help determine development priorities in their areas.

The National Election Committee said Monday preliminary results showed the CPP had won 8,545 votes, or about 75 percent, in Phnom Penh and provincial districts, and 8,470, also nearly 75 percent, in other towns and districts.

The Sam Rainsy party followed with 2,317 votes, or 20.5 percent, in Phnom Penh and provincial councils, and 2,332 votes in towns and districts.

Funcinpec won 236 votes and 268, respectively, and the NRP won 209 and 262 votes.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith told VOA Khmer the CPP won more votes than it had sitting council members, indicating support from members of the other parties.

“The majority win is because the other parties do not have enough human resources and capacity for leading members of the councils…in compromises of development projects,” he said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said the results were acceptable, as it meant the party now had nearly 600 council members.

“We can win more members in the near future,” he said.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bunchhay said the party had given up some votes but won six capital and provincial council seats.

NRP spokesman Pen Sangha said his party has lost out due to vote-buying.

During campaigning, the Sam Rainsy Party accused CPP members of offering money to council members in exchange for votes.

The NEC will announce official results May 29.