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Recall Election Technically Possible, Analysts Say

The opposition protester holds a placard demanding "reelection".
The opposition protester holds a placard demanding "reelection".

Analysts say a recall election is possible within Cambodian law, despite statements to the contrary by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The opposition is calling for a new election, as Cambodia’s political crisis deepens following July polls the opposition says were marred by fraud.

Hun Sen, who left Thursday for an official state visit to Vietnam, said in a speech last week he would not step down—something opposition supporters have called for—and that there will be “no re-election.” This was because parliament was not being dissolved, he said, and because he was appointed by a legally elected National Assembly.

However, political analyst Lao Mong Hay told VOA Khmer Thursday that the opposition’s rejection of the July election, as well as its boycott of parliament, are the fundamental reasons a recall may be a possibility.

“It is possible, because the election had serious irregularities, and this election is the basis for this term of parliament,” he said. “The election was not fair, and the parliament created from an unfair election is not legitimate.”

An illegitimate parliament does not need to be dissolved, he said: it’s as though it does not exist.

“This issue should be asked in the court of the public,” he said. “Which is an election.”

Hang Puthea, head of the election-monitoring group Nicfec, said a recall can be done if both parties agree to it. “The political aspect is bigger than the legal aspect,” he said. Political arguments of technicalities and procedures in the end make the public suffer, he said.

Meanwhile, anti-government protests continue. A group of demonstrators gathered outside Phnom Penh’s City Hall on Tuesday, and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party continues to call for credible investigations into July’s election, or a recall vote.

The opposition has continued to boycott the National Assembly, meaning only 68 ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers have been seated there since the election.