Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday has sworn to die if the voter turnout numbers for last month’s general election were found to have been manipulated.
The premier made the comments amid criticism from the international community and former opposition party over allegations of voter intimidation and possible fraud.
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party won a landslide victory, claiming more than three-quarters of the votes cast and all 125 seats in parliament.
Speaking to a group of athletes and trainers in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said: “You dare make accusations that the voter turnout was inflated and people were intimidated? Would you dare to swear by it? If you dare, you can respond through Facebook now! Now I would like to make a vow. I swear to die, as long as the devil wants me to die.”
He defended the election data provided by the National Election Committee, which showed that about 82 percent of registered voters cast a ballot on election day.
Hun Sen also goaded Sam Rainsy, the former leader of the country’s main opposition party who led an election boycott campaign, to join him in the death pact.
The Cambodian prime minister plan to give a speech at the United Nations in September and will respond to the claims that the election was not free or fair.
Rainsy responded to Hun Sen on his Facebook page, saying he would take him up on the challenge only after Hun Sen agreed to a recount.
“The figure that the CPP and the National Election Committee presented was a lie; mostly about the voter turnout rate, which was inflated,” he said.
Lao Mong Hay, an independent political analyst, said making such oaths was a distraction from the pressing issues of the day.
“He is just swearing but has done nothing. People voted for him [Hun Sen] to lead the country, not for swearing,” he said.