The ruling Cambodian People’s Party yesterday enjoyed a landslide victory in the Senate election, winning all 58 seats available.
According to preliminary results from the National Election Committee, the CPP received 11,202 votes, Funcinpec received 276, the Khmer National United Party received 182 and the Cambodian Youth Party received three.
The official results will be released on Saturday.
There were 11,670 votes cast, equivalent to 99.79 percent of 11,695 eligible voters, with 25 people absent due to illness, said NEC member Duch Sorn during a press conference.
There were 62 Senate seats to be filled, with 58 elected by commune councillors and members of parliament, and two will be appointed by the King and two by the National Assembly.
Only four political parties registered to contest the election: the CPP, the Cambodian Youth Party, the Khmer National United Party and the royalist Funcinpec party.
There were 33 polling stations in eight regions across the country. The NEC allowed 12 associations and NGOs, totalling 276 observers, to oversee the electoral process.
KNUP president Soeng Kiri said he knew his party would not win any seats.
“We knew already because we don’t have enough supporters but we had to fulfil our obligation to comply with the law on multi-party democracy,” he said.
Former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile, opposed the results of the election and called on foreign countries and the United Nations to not recognize it.
CPP spokesman Suos Yara declined to respond to Mr Rainsy, saying the CNRP had already been dissolved.
“We do not have a duty to respond to a dissolved party,” he said. “Furthermore, the NEC is the one who has the rights to protect legitimacy and respect the rule of law.”
NEC chairman Sik Bunhok, who visited polling stations in Phnom Penh yesterday, said the electoral process was carried out properly.
“There is huge spirit when our people turn out to vote nationwide. I hope in the upcoming national election our people will use their rights to choose a leader,” he said.
He urged all Cambodian citizens to recognize how much the country has developed since the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge.
“The NEC was elected from the National Assembly. It didn’t come from the Asean community or the United States or the EU’s money,” Mr Bunhok said in response to a reporter’s question about accusations the election was not free and fair.
“You have to know who created the NEC, it was the National Assembly and it represents people nationwide.”
He added Cambodians respect the Constitution of Cambodia and not the Constitution of the US, EU or any other countries.
“I am not satisfied with those outsiders because I was born from the National Assembly which represents the people,” he said. “We implemented the law when the party was dissolved. How can I recognize any party that is dissolved?”
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday went to vote in Kandal province’s Takhmao town. Most commune councillors and parliamentarians were early to visit polling stations in the provinces they represent.
Keo Savoeun, a Chak Angre Loeu commune councillor who arrived at the polling station at about 5.30am, said voters in the Senate election were volunteers.
“We have been waiting for this day to carry out democracy. No one forces us to vote,” he said.
Mr Savoeun said voting at the polling stations was carried out smoothly without any violence.
“We hope the CPP will win,” he said. “It is their right to say it is not a free and fair election but we are a democracy because it is not a single party state.”
Lork Kheng, a CPP lawmaker representing Phnom Penh, said all commune councillors were happy to join the fourth mandate of the Senate election.
“I think the electoral process is free and fair because we have a polling station and observers,” she said.
“It is a free and fair election because all commune councillors are voters and they are happy. We have a situation now in our country where people live peacefully, they only care about their jobs and their health,” she added.