29 July 2013

Sometimes it is Great to be Wrong

I predicted that Hun Sen would only allow his Cambodian People's Party (CPP) to lose between 7-10 seats at this election. How wrong but happy to be wrong, can one be?

Although official results are some distance away it looks like the government have received an absolute walloping in the polls with 22 seats being lost to the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) opposition.

Despite the loss of these seats it appears the government will remain in power with a thirteen seat majority.

I also said that CNRP supporters claim that they had received more votes than the CPP was incredibly optimistic and highly improbable as Hun Sen retained huge support in the countryside.

It could be that I was wrong here, too.

Consider that the CPP lost 22 seats despite:

~ A large number of voters- some put the figure as high as 13.5% of potential electors were unable to cast their votes because their names didn't appear on the electoral list. See here and here. Many of the disenfranchised were young, often first time voters, who were more likely to vote CNRP.

This man got to cast his ballot but there is no question
 many legitimate Cambodian voters weren't so lucky

~ Reports of people voting twice because the ink used to help stop this practice simply wasn't up to the job. See here and here.

The government could have easily fixed the issue of ink quality but refused to do so.


I was shown how the ink could be moved in minutes
~Almost all Phnom Penh communes have voter registration rates in excess of 100 per cent according to government data.That's more than 145,000 additional and dubious voters in the capital alone.

 'These bloated registration rates raise concerns that ballot rigging could be conducted in specific areas through various methods, from more sophisticated manipulation of voter identity documents to simple ballot stuffing.'
-The Phnom Penh Post

~ Intimidation and vote-buying whilst less than in previous years is still a factor in Cambodian elections.

   "Meas Saly, 46, looked around cagily as she spoke to reporters, whispering—to avoid the earshot of a nearby         CPP activist—that she planned to vote against the ruling party.
   -The Cambodian Daily

 CPP Interior Minister Sar Kheng promised to dole out 
the cash from a mysterious source to those in need only if
the CPP won.

When taking in to account all these factors it is far from inconceivable that the majority of Cambodians support the opposition.

Less than happy with the election result. The dog wasn't happy either, but his issue was with me.

Several monks and others I talked to in Phnom Penh's Wat Than claimed that they could not and would not accept a Cambodian National Rescue Party loss.

They wondered why the incoming results were not shown live on TV.

And they wondered why the unofficial results were declared several hours after politicians knew the outcome.

Whether this claim is true or not I do not know. But these people were mighty unhappy and more than prepared to share their unhappiness.

And that is the big change in Cambodian politics; fear of Hun Sen and his henchmen is rapidly disappearing.

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