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Opposition Says It Will Not Accept Election Results

Sam Rainsy, center, leader of Cambodia National Rescue Party greets villagers while visiting a polling station at Chak Angre Leu pagoda, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia’s opposition party leader says they will not accept the results of Sunday’s election, in which the ruling party appears to have lost ground but maintained enough seats in parliament to maintain a hold on power.

Early figures show the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won nationwide elections with an estimated 68 National Assembly seats, down from 90, followed by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party with 55, up from 29.

But opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Monday the elections were marred by too many irregularities to consider them legitimate.

Sam Rainsy, the president of the Rescue Party, told reporters Monday his party would not accept the results of the election.

“What we are interested in is to render justice to the Cambodian people,” he said. “To ensure that the will of the Cambodian people will not be distorted or reversed as before.”

Sam Rainsy said the names of 1.2 million voters were excluded from voter lists, that as many as 200,000 names were duplicated on those lists, and that the ink used to ensure people only vote once was easily washed off, allowing for multiple votes.

In addition to these, he said, ballots were counted behind closed doors, making the count suspect.

He called on the National Election Committee, widely criticized for a bias toward the ruling party, to stage re-elections nationwide, to fix the irregularities.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the announcement by the opposition was typical in the country’s elections.

“The opposition party uses this game after every election,” he said.

NEC officials have not given the final tally of votes. Early results were announced late Sunday by officials from the ruling party.

Koul Panha, head of the election monitor Comfrel, told the Voice of America that the elections had been the “least fair” of those so far held in the country.