Sam Rainsy Wants Ruling and Opposition Parties Declared Joint Winners

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CNRP President Sam Rainsy (r) sits next to CNRP deputy chief Kem Sokha (c) as he speaks at a press conference in Phnom Penh, Sept. 20, 2013.
CNRP President Sam Rainsy (r) sits next to CNRP deputy chief Kem Sokha (c) as he speaks at a press conference in Phnom Penh, Sept. 20, 2013.

Cambodia’s opposition leader Sam Rainsy called Friday for election officials to declare his party and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party joint victors in recent polls, saying the move would be a first step toward resolving a deadlock over the disputed election.

With the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) named co-winners, there could be a “balance of power,” he said.

He did not say whether the CNRP was willing to join a coalition government with the CPP, nor was he specific on what the CNRP wanted in return if the two parties were declared joint winners of the July 28 polls, which the opposition claims were marred by fraud and other irregularities.  

The National Election Committee (NEC), which supervised the polls, had declared CPP the election victor, saying it won 68 seats in the National Assembly, the country’s parliament, compared with 55 seats by the CNRP.  

Sam Rainsy said that the CNRP, which claims it won the polls, was prepared to make a concession that both parties won the elections to pave the way for them to “share equal responsibilities.”

“We are making a concession and we are requesting the CPP also make a concession,” he told reporters in Phnom Penh.

In an immediate reaction, the CPP said it may be prepared to accept that the two parties were joint winners in name at least but pointed out that it would still have to play a major role in parliament and in the government according to the seats it earned.

The CNRP is welcome to join parliament as long as the CPP leads it, senior CPP lawmaker Chheang Von said.

“By law, the CPP has 68 seats and CNRP has 55,” he told RFA’s Khmer Service.

“But the CPP wasn’t alone in announcing victory and the CNRP hasn’t lost; we both won the people’s votes,” he said.

The CNRP has threatened to boycott parliament scheduled to be convened on Monday for the first time after elections if there is no independent probe into charges of fraud in the polls.

'Step toward resolving deadlock'

Sam Rainsy maintained that the CNRP, which claims it should have won 63 seats in the polls, would continue to push for a probe into alleged irregularities in the polls, but that it was making the proposal for joint winners “in the national interest.”

He called on the NEC to announce the two parties as joint winners “for the time being,” without elaborating how long that might be.

“We must each make a concession,” he said.

“We must announce temporarily that the two parties won the election.”

“The formula of having both parties as winners in the election is a positive step toward resolving the deadlock,” he said.

The declaration must not be in name only, and the two parties must also share equal responsibilities, he said.

“We will hold joint responsibilities through mutual understanding and cooperation.”  

The proposal comes after several rounds of talks this week between Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen in a dialogue brokered by King Norodom Sihamoni, who has said he will convene parliament on Sept. 23.

The king has come under pressure from monks and NGOs to postpone the meeting, which the CPP has said its lawmakers will attend.

Tensions have been high in Phnom Penh after violent clashes erupted in Phnom Penh Sunday on the fringes of a mass demonstration that drew an estimated 20,000 CNRP supporters demanding a probe.

Prince Thomico’s hunger strike stopped

Hours after Sam Rainsy’s press conference in Phnom Penh, hundreds of police in riot gear broke up a hunger strike demonstration by prominent CNRP member Prince Sisowath Thomico against Hun Sen’s disputed election victory.

Prince Sisowatch Thomico speaks to reporters after starting his hunger strike near Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, Sept. 20, 2013. Photo credit: RFA.
Prince Sisowatch Thomico speaks to reporters after starting his hunger strike near Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, Sept. 20, 2013. Photo credit: RFA. Photo: RFA
Some eight monks and 30 other demonstrators were dispelled from the city’s main pagoda Wat Phnom by police armed with shields and riot gear, who hit some of the monks in the process, the prince told RFA.

Prince Thomico, who is the king’s cousin and former special adviser to the monarch, had started the protest earlier on Friday to demand “justice for voters.”

“The CPP is staging a calm coup to stealing power [from the CNRP] and refusing to provide justice,” he said.

The day before, police in Phnom Penh had blocked about 200 monks from marching to the Royal Palace to call on the King to convene parliament only after the political deadlock is resolved.

Calls to delay

The CNRP wrote to King Sihamoni on Friday to urge him to postpone the opening parliamentary session until November in order to allow the two parties to work out their differences.

“If the assembly meeting proceeds without CNRP lawmakers’ participation, that will be an abuse of the Constitution,” Sam Rainsy said in the letter.

Sixty-three CNRP lawmakers—one for each of the parliamentary seats the party says it deserves—will attend a ceremony in Siem Reap on Sept. 23 instead of attending the opening parliamentary session scheduled for that day, the party said.

A group of 40 local civil society groups monitoring the election issued a statement Friday calling for the session to be delayed until “after the two political parties reach agreements on resolution of the national issues and achieve national unity.”

According to law, the king has 60 days from the announcement of official election results on Sept. 8 to convene parliament, meaning there is “still a lot of time,” the group said.

The two parties “need additional time to consider commissioning a truth commission to look into election irregularities and reforms of the electoral system and national institutions,” said the statement by the group, which includes the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) and the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Nicfec).

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

Comments (4)


from Phnom Penh

With all my heart go to you. Don't you ever give up. Our hope depend on you. Every day, I pray to Bhuda for you, to be with you, to give you strange, to defeat the foolishness devil, to vanish the evil and wishing you for the best of luck.

Sep 25, 2013 10:19 PM

Anonymous Reader

The rescue party political life will end-up
the latest in mid-term if opposition dare to declare joint winner with CPP. This is
a weak point of CNRP. Cambodian are loser
because of both of you Sirs.

Sep 24, 2013 01:22 PM


from Ratanakiri

Mr.HunViet,you must say to your evil master Vietnam that if you don't lose this times, you are going to have no place in the heart and mind of Cambodian! Why? The freedom has grown deeply !
Shame on you Vietnam!

Sep 21, 2013 08:11 AM

Anonymous Reader

The CNRP's intention was to appease the public demanding for justice and at the same time form coalition government with CPP. This not going to work if they both are equal winners but not equal in powers.

It looks good at first until CPP demanding it should lead the government, based on their number 68. If they say both are winners, what is the point then if the CPP insisting on leading. This shows the CPP true intention, that is getting CNRP in the government so is to legitimize CPP. This also shows the CPP wants to stay dominate and wield all powers in the government. They haven't shaded their dictatorial mentality, too bad opportunity lost.

Sep 20, 2013 08:19 PM





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