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Ruling Party Threatens Opposition With Defamation Action Over Election Claims

A Cambodian woman casts her ballot on commune elections day, Kandal province, Cambodia, June 04, 2017. (Khan Sokummono/VOA Khmer)

It went on to threaten legal action against the CNRP for “slander or false statement”.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party has hit back at the opposition after it claimed earlier this week that the local election was not free and fair.

A CPP spokesman on Tuesday said that the Cambodia National Rescue Party had defamed the ruling party.

“Before and after the campaign period if we observed abnormalities, we resolved them. I have not idea why they [the CNRP] waited until the release of the results to make such a statement,” Sok Eysan told VOA Khmer.

He claimed the CNRP was behind the release of a statement by a coalition of election monitors, The Situation Room, which on Sunday said it had observed irregularities during the election and claimed the vote was held in an environment that did not permit a free election.

The ruling party on Monday claimed that the election results were not announced on television because the CNRP had declined to sign an agreement to have broadcasters read out the results.

It went on to threaten legal action against the CNRP for “slander or false statement”.

Yim Sovann, CNRP spokesman, said the party “only needs answers and I did not see any answers to our questions.”

The Situation Room claimed it had evidence of intimidation of voters, restrictions on freedom of expression and threats to NGOs and the opposition.

Yoeung Sotheara, a legal observer with election monitor Comfrel, a Situation Room member organization, said the group was independent and could corroborate most of the CNRP claims against the ruling party.

The CPP won more than half of the popular vote with the CNRP picking up an increased share of 43 percent and securing almost a third of the local councils.