Cambodia’s opposition alleges fraud in regional polls

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Cambodia’s main opposition party Monday alleged fraud in the regional elections held a day ago even as the poll authorities said the voting was fair.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claimed victory in Sunday’s elections after the National Election Committee (NEC) said Prime Minister Hun Sen’s outfit was ahead in vote counting.

However, the Candlelight Party said the results did not reflect the will of the people.

Preliminary results after the counting of 25 percent of the votes indicated that CPP had secured 75 percent of the ballots, compared to 22 percent by the Candlelight Party.

The opposition did not elaborate on the fraud allegations but accused the authorities of harassing its candidates and supporters before voting.

The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) also denounced that at least one of its members was arrested on Sunday.

More than 77 percent of the 9.2 million registered electors voted on Sunday in regional elections with a lower turnout than in the 2017 elections.

Some 11,622 councilor and mayor seats were up for grabs in 25 regions of the country.

The Candlelight Party largely comprises leaders of the former main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which the top court dissolved in 2017 before the last parliamentary polls.

More than 100 of its leaders were disqualified for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

Its termination was ordered after Hun Sen’s party lost positions in the municipal elections of that year, which raised fears that the CNRP could defeat the CPP in the 2018 general elections.

Hun Sen, who has run the country for 37 years, won a landslide election victory in 2018 after the government crackdown diminished all opposition.

He has been in power since January 1985, when he became the prime minister at the age of 33.

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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