Friday, August 16, 2013

Cambodians urged to keep calm amid political crisis over poll results   2013-08-16 20:09:52            
PHNOM PENH, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Ministry of Information called on people to stay calm for the sake of national peace and stability amid political crisis over disputed election results.
"The Ministry of Information would like to call on all compatriots to maintain peace and make a living as usual," said the statement released late Thursday.
The Ministry also urged mass media, particularly social networks, to release news or commentaries based on fact.
"We should together avoid reporting information without sources that inflates, or incites violence and fear among the public," the statement said.
"The Ministry firmly hopes that the Cambodian people will understand our country's situation and accept this appeal in order to maintain peace, stability, security and social order that are the aspirations of the nation and people," it added.
The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed victory in the parliamentary election on July 28, but the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) led by Sam Rainsy rejected the initial results due to alleged irregularities.
The National Election Committee (NEC) released initial official results on Monday, showing that the CPP got 3.23 million votes and the CNRP received 2.94 million votes.
The CPP claimed it won 68 seats of the 123-seat National Assembly, while the CNRP got the remaining 55 seats.
But the CNRP claimed that it should win 63 seats, with the CPP getting the remaining 60 seats if an independent committee is formed to investigate and resolve poll irregularities.
Speaking to reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport upon his return from the United States on Friday, Sam Rainsy expressed his confidence that Prime Minister Hun Sen would allow the establishment of an independent committee in order to look into the alleged irregularities. "Definitely, I believe that the committee will be set up because no one will recognize any government by fake election," he said. "The whole world knows that the CNRP won the election and the whole world would help the CNRP expose the truth."
The opposition has requested a joint poll probe committee without the NEC as a referee, but the ruling CPP has rejected any investigation not headed by the NEC, which is widely seen as being loyal to the ruling party.
Tep Nytha, NEC secretary general, said Wednesday that there was no need to talk about the joint probe committee as the initial results had already been released.
He said the final poll results would be issued on Sept. 8.
CNRP's Vice President Kem Sokha said Thursday that the party would boycott the first parliamentary session and called for a mass protest if the committee was not established to investigate poll fraud.
"If there is no an independent committee to look into poll irregularities, we will not attend the first National Assembly session; then, our last resort is a mass demonstration," he told supporters at the party's headquarters.
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said last Friday that soldiers and armored vehicles had been deployed on the outskirts of capital Phnom Penh to ensure security and stability after the opposition had repeatedly threatened to call mass protest.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Aug. 2 that the new parliament and government would be established as scheduled even though the opposition boycotted the first parliamentary session.
Hun Sen, 61, who has been in power for 28 years, will rule the country for another five years through the victory.
A new parliament will be sworn in no later than 60 days after the election, according to the constitution.
Editor: Mengjie

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