Guide to pages

Cambodia's 1998 Election

SRP Documents

(Page 3 of 9)

Judgment by the people -- and more importantly, the international observers

July 26, 1998


"It is two minutes past four, and the destiny of Cambodia is in the ballot box,"

-Sam Rainsy

We are greatly relieved that as of the closing of the polls at 4:00 pm, we have received no reports of political violence during the polling, although we have received many reports of irregularities. It should be noted that we have not yet received reports from most of the provinces. We hope that they too will report no violent incidents. Meanwhile turnout appears to have been very high, at least in Phnom Penh.

A polling day that is free of bloodshed, while very welcome, does not erase the deep mark left by violence on what should have been a day of triumph for Cambodian democracy. No one can give back the right to vote to the members of the Sam Rainsy Party and other people who were murdered in the ruling party's long campaign to suppress its political opposition.

Likewise, no one can know what the results would have been if any of those who committed acts of political violence had been prosecuted or punished, if the parties had been given equitable access to the media, and if the opposition had been allowed to organize a campaign in a normal way.

Now we in the opposition, the ruling party, and the Cambodian people as a whole will wait for the verdict of the international community. Assuming that there is no drastic move by the ruling party to annul the results or disqualify its opponents, the international community will have the opportunity to correct some of the shortcomings in its approach to these elections.

We urge the Joint International Observer Group and the other nations and institutions not to leap to any quick conclusions. They should not certify these elections in any way until they have completed a comprehensive evaluation of all the irregularities, including registration shortfalls, threats, violence, and polling station and counting fraud.

This evaluation can only be effective if it has the full cooperation of all relevant observing groups, human rights groups, opposition parties and government bodies, and if it is carried out openly. A comprehensive report of the findings should be made available to the general public before the international bodies come to a conclusion.

Regardless of the results that the National Election Committee will announce, we believe that the Cambodian people have once again proved their courage and their love for democracy during this campaign. It is they who will make the final judgement of the fairness of these elections.

This is a list of election incidents reported to the Sam Rainsy Party Cabinet office as of 6pm Sunday July 26, including minor and major incidents. It is not a comprehensive list of incidents nationwide, but only the incidents reported to us as is; they have not yet been investigated. There is no way to know the total of incidents nationwide without a comprehensive evaluation.

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 8:30

Location: PS 1055 in Takhmau

Time of problem: ongoing

Reported by:

Problem: overcrowded and disorderly, staff cannot control normal procedure

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 8:30

Location: PS at Norton College

Time of problem: 8:30

Reported by: Chun Sok Bopha

Problem: CPP banners hanging on fence of polling station (check?)

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 8:40

Location: PS 0855 Phnom Penh

Time of problem: ongoing

Reported by: Ly Rosamy, SRP candidate

Problem: No movement for an hour. Staff and voters shouting at each other, instead of proceeding. Rosamy estimates only 10 people voted so far.

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 9:00

Location: Bang Keng Kong primary school Time of problem:

Reported by: Chean Chan Mary

Problem: Line out of control, too many people inside, PS staff chased them out again. Processing very slow.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 9:00

Location: PS 12022 Phnom Penh (Sras Chok) Time of problem:

Reported by:

Problem: Two people selling Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper in front of PS. A front page article serves as a thinly-disguised excuse to reprint an anonymous anti-Rainsy leaflet in Cambodia's highest circulation newspaper, which is owned by associates of Hun Sen.

Logged by: Uy Som Ol

Time reported: 9:00

Location: Wat Svay Bangkum, PP

Time of problem: 9:00

Reported by: Tioulong Saumura

Problem: 1. Ballot box has no number on it 2. LICADHO observer not allowed in to observe.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 9:02

Location: 0355 and 0356 Kompong Cham

Time of problem:

Reported by: Om Moeurn of SRP K Cham

Problem: Doorkeeper is delaying by asking unnecessary questions, inspecting voters. Voters are complaining.

Logged by: Rich Garella

Time reported: 10:00

Location: generally in Dambae district, Kompong Cham Time of problem: n/a

Reported by: Chhoeng Manith, SRP Cabinet Problem: Local people report CPP is making a list of their own voters and will let them vote first, making others wait (until too late?)

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 10:00

Location: Prek Tmei village, Koh Thom district, Kandal Time of problem: since station opened?

Reported by: Puth Sophea, SRP Kandal

Problem: CEC member Thy Siheang stopped observers from taking notes

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 10:30

Location: PS 0355 in Beung Kok village in Kompong Cham Time of problem: 10:30

Reported by: SRP observer

Problem: Chief of polling station went into the polling booth with a voter, carrying a pen in his hand, and she came out and put a ballot in the box. He said that she was deaf.

Logged by: Bun Hun (by fax)

Time reported: 10:30

Location: 002, Tonle Bassac, PP (Sothearos primary school) Time of problem: 8:00

Reported by: Bun Hun, SRP observer

Problem: PSC chief voted on behalf of several voters. Bun Hun saw him take the hand of an elderly woman to tick off the ballot and then went in with her. He did the same with several others.

Logged by: by fax from 71

Time reported: 10:45

Location: 0746 in Russei Keo quarter PP Time of problem: 8:00

Reported by: Sok Sin

Problem: PSC chief shouted at the voters, ordering them to vote for CPP.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 10:47

Location: PS 0741, Yoeutrei B, Russei Keo, PP Time of problem:

Reported by: Yim Sovann, SRP Treasurer

Problem: Government security forces inside polling station. Unarmed, but they stayed inside longer than they needed to vote. When SRP and foreign observers pointed it out, they went outside but stayed nearby.

Logged by: by fax from 71

Time reported: 11:00

Location: 0132 in Wat Tuol Tompong, PP

Time of problem: 10:00

Reported by: Dan Sony

Problem: No observers in station

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 11:20

Location: 646 and 648 in Chbar Ampeou, PP Time of problem: 9:30 onward

Reported by: Ou Bunlong

Problem: In both stations, around 40 people are inside. The system has broken down and the chiefs seem to be giving up. No one is voting.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 11:30

Location: 052 PP

Time of problem: 11:20

Reported by: Srey Sehha, SRP cabinet

Problem: A man who claimed to be staff of the polling station, whose finger was already inked, was allowed to go into the ballot booth, apparently to cast his vote.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 11:30

Location: 052 PP

Time of problem: 11:30

Reported by: Srey Seyha, SRP cabinet

Problem: Trach Sophana, voter 3-834-9999 arrived to vote and he was refused because his name was already crossed out. His finger was not inked yet. After he complained, the chief let him vote, but it seems that someone else may have already voted under his name.

Logged by: Chhoeng Manith

Time reported: 11:45

Location: 0350 in Monorom district of PP Time of problem: 11:30

Reported by: Srey Seiha

Problem: Two women, Mekit Chantou (NEC 36652, voter card 3834-653) and Pek Chan Rasmei (NEC 3728, voter 3834-919) who said they were PSC members tried to vote, but their fingers were already inked. The chief of the PSC, Vorn Sok, allowed them to vote.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 11:55

Location: 0697 Chak Angrei Krom in PP

Time of problem: 11:55

Reported by: Yim Sovann, SRP treasurer

Problem: Ballot papers are being torn off from the bottom instead of the top.

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 11:30

Location: 0575 in Chamkar Siem village of Tramkok district in Takeo Time of problem: unclear

Reported by: Pok Sothea, SRP candidate

Problem: 50 ballots found missing from the bottom of the package. Should be 8001-8751, but when checked there were only ballots up to 8701.

Logged by: by fax from SRP Koh Kong

Time reported: 12:15

Location: Maha Srorp district of Koh Kong Time of problem:

Reported by: Prak Saroeun

Problem: Two trucks of Thai workers were brought and cast votes.

Logged by: by fax from SRP Koh Kong

Time reported: 12:15

Location: Psar Chah, Koh Kong

Time of problem:

Reported by: Prak Saroeun

Problem: Line control failure as people crowd into the station.

Logged by: by fax from SRP Koh Kong

Time reported: 12:15

Location: Wat Pou Tneang, Koh Kong

Time of problem:

Reported by: Prak Saroeun

Problem: Polling station split into two separate stations without notification. Only 245 people were registered there, so there should be no need to split it.

Logged by: by fax from SRP Koh Kong

Time reported: 12:15

Location: Sary Sakoh district of Koh Kong Time of problem:

Reported by: Prak Saroeun

Problem: Explosion with injuries reported, but further investigation impossible because traffic is closed to that place.

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 12:45

Location: Sothearos primary school, room 0001, PP Time of problem: 12:40

Reported by: Bak Long

Problem: No observers of any kind.

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 12:47

Location: 0194, in Psar Kandal district, PP Time of problem: ongoing

Reported by: You Pichkong, SRP Phnom Penh worker Problem: CPP installed a big new sign this morning facing the polling station.

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 1:00

Location: Doan Roeun village in Prey Veng district, Prey Veng Time of problem: 8:15

Reported by: Roth Khemara, SRP worker

Problem: 10 cases of elderly women were brought into the booth by the chief to assist them to vote, then it looked as if they are putting crumpled ballots in the box, not new ones.

Logged by: Bak Long

Time reported: 1:00

Location: Doan Roeun village in Prey Veng district, Prey Veng Time of problem:

Reported by: Roth Khemara, SRP worker

Problem: Military chief name Ieng Ravai was standing with his bodyguard just 6 or 7 meters in front of the station. He was carrying a pistol.

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 1:05

Location: in Sralap commune, Kompong Cham Time of problem:

Reported by: Uk Moeun, SRP candidate in Kompong Cham Problem: Chief of polling station ticks the ballots before giving them to the voters.

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 1:05

Location: Wat Chhup school in Chhup commune, Kompong Cham Time of problem:

Reported by: Uk Moen, SRP candidate in Kompong Cham Problem: SRP observers were not allowed into the polling station.

Logged by: by fax from Prey Veng

Time reported: 1:30

Location: Tapit village, Reak Chey commune, Ba Phnom district, Prey Veng Time of problem: afternoon/night of Saturday July 25, 1998 Reported by: Mok Chan Mony, Prey Veng SRP Problem: Village chief confiscated voting cards from 15 SRP supporters

Logged by: by fax from Prey Veng

Time reported: 1:30

Location: Rong Damrei village, Cheung Phnum commune, Ba Phnom district, Prey Veng

Time of problem: afternoon/night of Saturday July 25, 1998 Reported by: Mok Chan Mony, Prey Veng SRP Problem: Village chief confiscated voting cards from 7 SRP supporters

Logged by: by fax from Prey Veng

Time reported: 1:30

Location: Chong Ampil commune, Kanh Chhreach district, Prey Veng Time of problem: afternoon/night of Saturday July 25, 1998 Reported by: Mok Chan Mony, Prey Veng SRP Problem: Village chief confiscated voting cards from 20 SRP supporters

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 1:45

Location: PS 20030-34, Chamkarmon, PP

Time of problem: 8:00 am

Reported by: Tioulong Saumura

Problem: Four armed policemen went into the gate and stood in front of the polling station.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 2:55

Location: PS 0668, Chbar Ampeou, PP

Time of problem: 2:20

Reported by: Moueng Samnang, SRP member Problem: Ballot box loosely closed, lid is so loose you can stick your fingers in the sides.

Logged by: Bak Hour

Time reported: 3:00

Location: PS 0734 and 0730Nhean Russei, Tuol Sangke, Russei Keo, PP Time of problem: 2:35

Reported by: Four unauthorized people inside the polling station, taking notes of the numbers of people voting on a form which is marked as CPP record of voting numbers (we have a copy of this form). Problem:

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 3:25

Location: PS 0350, Veal Vong quarter, Brampi Makara district, PP Time of problem: 3:10

Reported by: Preap Sovanarith, SRP observer Problem: Voter was allowed to vote although the voter list was already checked off.

Logged by:

Time reported: 4:45

Location: Siem Reap

Time of problem: today

Reported by:

Problem: Attempted kidnapping

Logged by: Sok Pheng

Time reported: 3:00

Location: PS 0576 in Kreang Thnung district hall in Dangkor, Phnom Penh Time of problem: 3:00

Reported by: Sam Rainsy, SRP president

Problem: Police were in front of a police station that is within the security area of the polling station, until Sam Rainsy visited that station. As soon as they saw him they changed out of their uniforms into civilian shirts.

Logged by: Rich Garella

Time reported: 5:25

Location: PS 0184 and 0185, Boeung Reang district, PP Time of problem: about 3:00

Reported by: Duong Hak

Problem: No observers of any kind at polling station.

Logged by: Ros Sakarach

Time reported: 5:40

Location: PS 1087-89, Kompong Samnang commune, Takhmau district, Kandal Time of problem: ongoing

Reported by: Puth Sophea, official of SRP Kandal Problem: Commune chief is confiscating appointment letters from the party observers including SRP observers.

Phnom Penh, July 27, 1998


We have received reports of widespread irregularities in polling and in ballot-counting in the National Assembly elections. Many of them are very serious; if they are widespread they would certainly invalidate the results of the elections. If they are limited in scope, then they may not.

Many monitoring organizations have collected reports on the progress of the polling and counting. These reports are invaluable to an assessment of the validity of the elections, but it is impossible for us or for any organization to assess today how widespread they are.

Irregularities reported to us include:

Polling station officials putting a check-mark on people's ballots for them Local officials confiscating voter cards before the people have voted Observers prevented from entering polling stations and counting centers People with inked fingers permitted to vote, others permitted to ink the wrong finger

Missing ballots, extra ballots and ballots removed improperly Counting staff refusing to show ballots to observers Enormous disparities in polling results Illegal security forces at polling stations, military takeovers at counting centers

It would be terribly irresponsible for any organization to draw conclusions on the validity of this election before a full evaluation is completed and made public.

There is no single organization or institution that can credibly certify these elections until there has been a comprehensive evaluation of all the irregularities, including registration shortfalls, threats, violence, and polling station and counting fraud, and an analysis of their effect of these irregularities on the outcome.

This evaluation can only be effective if it has the full cooperation of all relevant observing groups, human rights groups, opposition parties and government bodies, and if it is carried out openly. A comprehensive report of the findings should be made available to the general public before the international bodies come to a conclusion.

The Cambodian people have waited a long time and paid a heavy price for these polls. It is reasonable to wait two or three more weeks to assess carefully the validity of the vote.

See JIOG statement of July 27, 1998

Phnom Penh, July 28, 1998


It does not surprise us that the Joint International Observer Group has already given a positive assessment to the Cambodian elections. We knew from the beginning that the international community would not be able to observe or understand what was happening in the Cambodian electoral process with such a small presence.

Since the beginning we have said that the international observers would not be able to see the forms of intimidation, violence and fraud that the ruling party was and is using and that we have documented. Their numbers were too small, they came too late, and they made their assessment too early. They should not claim that they are able to make this evaluation.

The JIOG has not even acknowledged the extent of the ruling party's careful and brutal preparations during the run-up to the elections-despite the good intentions of its observers.

It does surprise us that the JIOG has committed itself to a positive assessment before the process is over, and furthermore demands that all parties accept the results of this incomplete and unevaluated process in order to receive JIOG's approval. We now forecast that there will be no substantive changes in the consolidated statement the JIOG says it will release "at a later stage."

Even as the JIOG released its statement near midnight on July 27, ballot boxes sat uncounted in the counting centers and provincial offices, and the election commission was stalling on the release of results. Our own list of serious irregularities continues to grow as reports come in from the provinces, but like the list of our dead, it is apparent that they have not been taken into account. These irregularities must be fully investigated before anyone can assess the result of the election.

The election which the JIOG calls "free and fair" has not met any of the basic conditions that the Secretary General of the United Nations listed on April 2, 1998 for evaluating the participation of its observers.

The climate of intimidation remains. The ruling party's forces have enjoyed complete impunity as they threatened, assaulted and murdered opposition supporters. The requests by the UN to investigate these crimes have been ignored in every case.

Equitable access to the media has been denied and neutrality rules have been violated freely, as the UN itself has reported. The Constitutional Council has not been legally formed and has not exercised its authority as laid down in the Constitution and in law.

The only aspect of this election which was successful is that on polling day there seems to have been no major election-related violence that has yet been reported, and that many Cambodians did turn out to vote. They demonstrated that they still have faith in democracy. It is unfortunate that their faith is being betrayed.



Phnom Penh, July 28, 1998



We have observed many irregularities in the polling, counting, and reporting of election results. These irregularities include missing ballots, polling station staff marking ballots for voters, purposeful miscounting of ballots, threats to observers, insufficient party agents and NGO observers allowed to watch the counting, improper moving of ballots at night and unexplained delays in reporting results.

We can not accept the result of these elections until these irregularities have been seriously investigated and proven by national and international observers to be nothing more than minor technical errors.

In areas where major irregularities occurred and election officials are unable to validate the results to the satisfaction of national and international observers, we demand that elections be reorganized and carried out with proper procedure and observation.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh

Buor Hel

Sam Rainsy

Keat Sokun

Phnom Penh, July 30, 1998


Since there are no valid results from the election of July 26, 1998, any consideration of a coalition government is premature.

The only question to be considered now is whether the campaign, polling, and ballot-counting have led to a democratic result or not. If reports of irregularities and electoral fraud are resolved, and the results of the elections are shown to be valid, then we will accept those results and consider our position on the formation of a coalition.

We welcome the offer of assistance in investigating reports of intimidation and fraud that has been made by the neutral observer groups COFFEL, COMFREL and NICFEC. We pledge to work closely with them to substantiate the evidence brought by our party members, observers and other witnesses, in order to develop the most accurate and complete assessment possible of the validity of the election results.

Our goal is democracy in Cambodia, not a power-sharing agreement.


August 1, 1998

We, the members of the National Assembly who have signed below, would like to call to the attention of Your Excellency Chheng Phon, the President of the National Election Committee,


Clarification of the way that the NEC has chosen the formula for allocation of National Assembly seats from each province.

The NEC decision on which formula to use for assigning seats from each province, established as the highest average rate by the Law on Elections, shows favoritism. At least four formulae fall under the definition of "highest average rate." In the first set of NEC regulations a formula favoring smaller parties was included. This was also included in the NEC manual. At some point in late May or early June we understand that this was changed, at the suggestion of NEC member Chhay Kim, to a formula favoring larger parties. The legal question now is: Was this change was made at a legal meeting of the NEC?

We ask the NEC to provide the minutes of a meeting with a quorum to show that the change was made legally. If the NEC cannot provide these minutes, then the original formula is the legal formula and should be used. If the minutes are provided, then we request the NEC to justify its introduction of a formula without apprising the National Assembly of its decision.

[The Khmer original was signed by

Son Soubert, Vice President of the National Assembly, Member of Parliament for Battambang

Ahmad Yahya, Member of Parliament for Phnom Penh Kem Sokha, Member of Parliament for Takeo Son Chhay, Member of Parliament for Siem Reap]

Ambassador Sven Linder

Chief Observer, European Observation Unit Chair, Joint International Observer Group Phnom Penh, Cambodia

August 2, 1998

Dear Mr. Linder,

A group of Sam Rainsy Party agents went to the National Election Committee in Phnom Penh on Saturday evening, August 1, 1998, to observe the delivery, counting and storage of bags of ballots from the provinces. Three of our agents stayed overnight inside the NEC, and we saw some more deliveries on Sunday morning.

While many international observers, including yourself, were enjoying the "cultural show" that the NEC organized at the Vipassana Center to thank the observers for a job well done, not a single international observer was posted at the NEC itself to watch over the ballot bags, most of which are improperly sealed and vulnerable to tampering.

We watched, photographed and videotaped the 6:00 pm delivery of bags of ballots from Kratie and the 8:30 pm delivery of bags from Banteay Meanchey. Bags from Kandal arrived Sunday morning.

Only a few of the bags from Kratie were sealed properly with the numbered NEC seals that are supposed to prevent tampering with the ballots after counting. More than three-quarters were closed with generic plastic ties. Some had the numbered seal attached incorrectly so it could be slipped on and off with ease. Others were tied with thin plastic ribbon. A few were entirely open, and spilled their contents out on the ground as they were being unloaded. The bags from Banteay Meanchey were in somewhat better condition. Only one of them was actually open, and most of them were properly sealed. After they were unloaded they were stored under the stairway in the main entrance hall of the NEC, not in a locked room. In other rooms we found bags from Kompong Thom and Takeo; most of them were improperly sealed like the ones from Kratie. The bags from Kandal were almost exclusively fastened improperly without seals.

The only showing by international observers was a one-hour visit from two E.U. observers on Saturday night, and they arrived only after we called a political affairs officer in the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Representative. Since they arrived without their ID cards, the NEC officials did not allow them to look into the storage rooms to see the poor condition of the bags.

The security of the bags and their contents is critical to a credible verification of the election results. We have filed 174 complaints to the NEC about the methods used by counting station staff to prevent observers from monitoring the count, indicating approximately 800 unmonitored counting tables. We expect to file similar complaints showing that at least 4000 of the 11,700 counting tables in the country were not monitored due to the NEC's limits on observers. In addition, we have many reports of original counts being done inaccurately to heavily favor the CPP.

There is plentiful justification for recounting, but the integrity of many of the ballots is being seriously compromised, in part by accidental or purposeful failure of election officials to follow simple instructions. If international observers were posted to guard over the vulnerable ballots, tampering would become more difficult and the credibility of the process might be somewhat restored.

Furthermore, the international observers could, by their presence, prevent our observers from being obstructed by NEC staff or others. One of our observers (and a candidate in Prey Veng), Khem Veasna, who was most active in recording irregularities was followed inside the NEC building itself on Sunday morning by two youths without identification tags. They then went outside to join four others, apparently to lie in wait. Veasna had to abandon his motorbike at the NEC and get a ride to Sam Rainsy Party headquarters. (A similar group beat one of our party agents unconscious on July 27 after he and another agent complained about false counting in a Phnom Penh counting station.)

As the NEC continues to announce unexplained delays in the results, and continues to block its own recounting committee, the opportunity to adjust the contents of the bags to match the reported vote count is growing, and the chances that the results of this election will ever be verified are being lost.

The electoral process is far from over. We ask you to focus the energies of your observers on it, rather than abandoning this role just as the bags of ballots arrive in the capital. We request, at the very least, that one international observer be posted inside the NEC to support other observers and to watch over the ballot bags at all times.

Ros Sakarach, Secretary

Cabinet of the President

Sam Rainsy Party

cc: Lakhan Mehrotra, UNSG Representative Thomas Hammarberg, UNSG Special Representative Glennys Kinnock, EU Special Representative Jacques Carrio, UN Election Advisory Group Foreign Embassies in Cambodia

Local and international media

Report by Sam Rainsy Party Election Committee


The Election Committee has already filed 174 cases of counting stations where only one SRP observer was allowed, but where there multiple counting tables. The total of unmonitored counting tables is estmated at 800. We expect to file complaints showing that at least 4,000 counting tables were unmonitored.

In addition, we have filed so far complaints that: - at the counts for 104 counting tables the counting staff refused to display the ballots and instances of miscounting in favor of CPP were seen when observers could double-check.

- at the counts for 88 counting tables the party agents were prevented from being near the counting table

- at the counts for 27 counting tables the military or police were allowed in.

Reports continue to come in of additional offenses.

Report by Sam Rainsy Party Human Rights Committee


Approximately 235 SRP supporters have arrived in Phnom Penh since the election because they are afraid of CPP violence.

184 SRP supporters have filed complaints about human rights violations to the Human Rights Committee. There are five major types of complaints, with a total of more that 400 incidents of the following crimes:

Major death threats

Attempted murder


Attempted kidnapping

Missing party agents


August 3, 1998


According to a letter from the National Election Commission, delivered to the Cabinet of the SRP today at 11:00 am:

The NEC invites three representatives of the SRP to join this afternoon August 3 at 2:30 recounting of ballots, which will take place in the building of the NEC inside the Ministry of Interior on the north side.

We support a recounting process if it is done in a credible manner. Recounting can detect only cases of improper counting. It cannot detect intimidation, ballot-box stuffing, or telegraphing, all of which we have documented.

Furthermore, it can only detect improper counting if the ballot bags have been completely secured for the entire time between the original counting and the recounting. Unfortunately this has not been the case to the extent we would like. Most of the bags have been improperly sealed and some are open. Any bag that is improperly sealed is, in effect, wide open. In addition, there has been little monitoring of the open bags in transit and in storage. The international observers in particular have been conspicuous in their absence.

In order to make the recounting process credible, the following conditions are necessary:

1. We must select a share of the communes to be recounted. There must be no forewarning to the NEC of which ones we will request.

2. Meanwhile, every ballot bag must be sealed immediately in the presence of two international observers who record the number of the official seal. This removal of this same seal must be observed and recorded as well.

3. All ballot bags, wherever they are, must be watched 24 hours a day by international observer teams until official results are accepted. Teams of two are a minimum to provide 100% coverage.

4. Every table where recounting takes place must be observed 100% of the time by representatives of the two main opposition parties and by at least one international observer. All must sign off on the results.

5. Any bag not sealed or verified secure by international observer sign-off must be discounted, and the results in that area discounted in the final election results. The NEC and JIOG should assess the pattern of disqualification to prevent purposeful disqualification of bags.

6. The number of unused ballots must be physically verified by international observers and party agents and must total correctly with the used ballots to match the number of ballots delivered originally.


August 4, 1998



We appeal most urgently to you, the Vice-President of the Cambodian People's Party, Hun Sen, to end the current campaign of terror against members of the opposition parties.

On election day, when the international community was most focused on the impact of such violence, there were very few killings and acts of violence. This was in stark contrast to previous days when numerous opposition supporters were attacked and murdered with complete impunity.

Once polling ended, the retribution began.

Hundreds of our supporters have fled the provinces after being threatened by the militias you control. Some have had to leave their children behind. At least one of our supporters has been raped. We are filing reports of more than 400 incidents of death threats, attempted murder or kidnapping, and disappearance, and we are cooperating with NICFEC, COFFEL, COMFREL and the UN human rights office in Phnom Penh to report and document these cases.

The terror is not only in the provinces. It reaches into the capital and into the headquarters of the National Election Committee itself, where the bags of ballots are stored. Two young thugs stalked one of observers in the corridor of the NEC while their accomplices waited outside. An NEC official displayed the guns in the trunk of his car to our observers and threatened to shoot one of them, an American citizen, if he dared to return to observe at the NEC.

We are not satisfied by your televised statements in which you cast doubt on the victims' reports while pretending to advocate an end to any violence. The proof that you want the violence to end will be shown when the violence does end.

We appeal to you to stop the retribution campaign and allow the Cambodian people to express their political will whatever it might be.


August 4, 1998


Ambassador Sven Linder, the chair of the Joint International Observer Group, reported on July 27 that JIOG teams "covered" an average of ten polling stations each, amounting to 2000-2300 polling centers.

JIOG observers have said they took an average of 20 minutes to "cover" each polling station. Allowing them 30 minutes each (which would amount to five hours of observing and four hours of travel time between stations), and accepting Ambassador Linder's upper figure of 2300 polling stations, there were 1150 hours of JIOG observing. Compared to the 105,300 total hours of polling on July 26, it is clear that:

At best, JIOG observed barely over one percent of the polling on July 26.

This hardly qualifies JIOG or its chair to make sweeping statements about fairness at the polls, let alone to say that the outcome of the election reflects "in a credible way, the will of the Cambodian people." This is especially true considering that according to Ambassador Linder, JIOG covered only "193 or 198" of the over 1600 counting centers. We do not know for how long they covered those few centers.

In its July 27 statement, the JIOG pledged to "continue to observe the Electoral Process in the most thorough way possible."

Now the JIOG appears to be falling far short of this commitment too. In a conversation with Sam Rainsy on August 3, Ambassador Linder refused to consider or answer in writing our written proposal for a fair recounting process, saying that any such proposal would have to come from the National Election Committee, and that it would be rejected regardless for lack of funds and personnel.

We hope that in the future the JIOG and its chair will refrain from drawing broad conclusions on the basis of isolated incidents. We further hope that the JIOG will make clear the exact extent of the its capacity to observe and analyze the ongoing electoral process, instead of making extravagant claims in public and then absolving itself of responsibility in private.

August 5, 1998



By SRP staff

Two of several documents the Sam Rainsy Party has acquired indicate that about 45,000 blank ballots disappeared in transit from the National Election Committee to the Provincial Election Commissions of Kandal and Battambang.

According to the NEC's own figures, it sent 863,250 blank ballots to Kandal province and 588,000 to Battambang. But the PECs of Battambang and Kandal report that they received tens of thousands fewer.

The Kandal PEC says it received only 831,740 blank ballots, a shortfall of 31,510. The Battambang PEC says it received only 573,649 blank ballots, a shortfall of 14,351. The total shortfall is 45,861.

In addition to standard ballot-stuffing, the missing ballots may be used to fix the bags of miscounted ballots so that re-counts will arrive at the figures originally recorded at the counting stations. That is why it is imperative that the ballots awaiting recount are monitored constantly by party agents and international observers.

We demand an immediate, thorough and public reconciliation of the number of used and unused ballots with the number of ballots supplied originally, not a mere assertion by the NEC that no ballots are missing.


The ballots were shipped and delivered to polling stations in bundles of 750. Each ballot is torn away from a numbered stub, but the ballots themselves are not numbered. There is no indication on them of which province they are from, except for some differences in the number of parties shown on the ballot (most parties did not run candidates in all the provinces).

The Sam Rainsy Party has also received scattered reports on polling day of blank ballots going missing in groups of 50 from the bottoms of the packages of ballots at the polling station.

In order for ballots to be counted as valid votes, they must be stamped correctly by the polling station staff. The stamps bear the number of the polling station, but are easily reproducible. Moreover, we do not know where these stamps are now.

August 5, 1998


The National Election Committee, in its press release dated August 3, 1998, seems to avoid the fundamental question regarding the formula used to allocate seats in the National Assembly.

It is not strictly a question of when the formula was announced, or whether political parties were informed. (In fact, the three SRP representatives who attended the meeting the NEC refers to, Ou Bunlong, Thit Saroeun and Hor Peng, all testify that no new formula was discussed.)

The question is whether the change was made legally or not.

Before the Law on Elections was passed on December 19, 1997, His Excellency You Hockry, MP, explained a formula meeting the requirement of Article 118 (the "highest average rate"). The National Assembly passed the Law on Election based on its understanding of that formula, and the National Election Committee then put that formula into Annex V of its Regulations and Procedures.

We do not see any convincing evidence that the NEC or the National Assembly has approved a new formula. No individual can change the formula. To start with, we would like to see the minutes of an NEC meeting at which the new formula was approved.

The formula has serious implications for the outcome of the election. Based on the most recent voting results before the NEC released its complete preliminary results, here are our calculations of the seat count under three formulas: The UNTAC formula, the original highest average rate formula, and the new highest average rate formula.


UNTAC 24 40 56 1 1

Original HAR 18 44 59 1 -

New HAR 15 43 64 - -

(KDP is the Khmer Democratic Party. NSP is Pen Sovann's National Sustaining Party)

Assuming for the purpose of this analysis that there are no recounts or reorganized elections, the old formula would give the opposition a slight majority and the new formula would give the CPP a slight majority.

The National Election Committee should not change the formula to benefit any political party. We cannot accept results of an election until this matter is resolved legally.

JOINT STATEMENT of FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party Phnom Penh, August 6, 1998

FUNCINPEC and the Sam Rainsy Party recognize that the original formula described during debate in the National Assembly and published in full by the National Election Committee in Annex V to its Regulations and Procedures is the only legal formula for allocation of seats in the National Assembly.

Last-minute attempts to change that formula are illegal. We will not accept a seat allocation based on the modified formula that the National Election Committee now presents.

We will not take part in any session of the National Assembly that includes alleged members who owe their seats to an illegal formula at the expense of legally elected Members of the National Assembly.


Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh

President of FUNCINPEC


Sam Rainsy

President of Sam Rainsy Party

August 7, 1998


(Note: E-mail and fax versions of this document lack the attachments)

The National Election Committee (NEC) is attempting to replace the legal formula for seat allocation with another formula that is not legal, was never presented in public and heavily favors the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

On the basis of the preliminary vote tally, the choice of formula would determine who controls the Assembly. Since the National Assembly comprises 122 seats, any party or coalition of parties commanding 62 or more seats is entitled to nominate the next Prime Minister and will be able to pass any law. The NEC's spurious formula would put the government in the hands of the CPP instead of the opposition, which won more votes. This maneuver has been condemned by the opposition parties and questioned by international observer groups and independent Cambodian NGOs.


December 19, 1997

The National Assembly passed the Law on Election of Members of Parliament. Article 5 specifies that "the electoral system shall be proportional representation," and Article 118 specifies that "remaining seat(s) for a constituency shall be allocated in accordance with the greatest average formula" (see page 3).

During debate, MP and co-Minister of Interior You Hockry had explained the meaning of "greatest average formula." Although there are several formulae that meet this definition, Hockry described only the one-step formula for allocating remaining seats. We call this Formula 1. Therefore the MPs understood that the "greatest average formula" specified by the Law on Elections would be Formula 1. All Assembly sessions are videotaped and official minutes are kept.

May 6, 1998

NEC published the first version of its Regulations & Procedures for the Election of the Members of the National Assembly in the Kingdom of Cambodia. On page 172 in Annex V (Formula to Allocate the Seats After the Official Results) of the Khmer version, Formula 1 was confirmed as the formula for allocating the remaining seats. The formula and an example of how to use it were included (see Khmer version on pages 4-7 and English version on pages 8-10).

May 29, 1998

NEC published another version of its Regulations & Procedures. Formula 2, a multi-step formula for allocating remaining seats, appeared in place of Formula 1, without any notation of changes and without any reason given for the change.

June 3, 1998

NEC sent an invitation to party officials who are in charge of propaganda to come to a meeting on June 8 about the procedures for campaigning (see page 11).

June 8, 1998

NEC held the meeting at 8:00 am. The three Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) officials who attended report that NEC vice-chair Kassie Neou presided over a discussion of campaigning rules, but there was no mention of the seat allocation formula (see page 12). The May 29 version of the Rules & Procedures was distributed in a new plastic cover, but the changes were not mentioned. The SRP representatives signed the attendance list, and signed to indicate they received a copy of the Rules & Procedures.

August 4, 1998

NEC officials claimed at the last NEC press briefing that the new formula was given to party officials and discussed at a meeting on June 10, and that the participants signed to indicate their acceptance. If there was a June 10 meeting, then the NEC should be able to show an invitation letter with the corresponding agenda, produce witnesses who were there, and show an attendance list. In fact, there was no meeting on June 10 that we are aware of. Despite requests made over several days, the NEC spokesman was not able to produce minutes showing any NEC decision to change the formula. (See Cambodia Daily article on page 13.)


1. The National Assembly's decision to pass the Law on Elections would be violated by use of any formula other than Formula 1, which is the one that the MPs understood would be used.

2. Even if the NEC were entitled to make any decision on the formula, it did not have a legal meeting where an absolute majority voted for a change (see Article 17 of the Law on Elections). We do not know how the NEC might have changed the formula, since there are no minutes of any meetings on this topic.

3. Political parties; internationally recognized observing groups such as COMFREL, COFFEL and NICFEC; foreign election experts such as those at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation; and even NEC Vice Chair Kassie Neou did not know about the new formula until after the polling date (see page 13).

4. According to Article 5 of the Law on Elections, the election is based on the proportional representation system. Formula 1 is simpler and more straightforward than Formula 2. More importantly, it distorts the popular will less than Formula 2 does, and is thus more accurately proportional, while still restricting the number of political parties from 39 to 4. Comparing the results in percent of ballots with the percent of seats allocated to the parties under the different systems, we can see that Formula 2 is the least accurate and most unrepresentative:


% Ballots cast (popular will) 41.4% 31.7% 14.3% 1.8% 1.5% % of seats under UNTAC system 45.9% (56) 32.8% (40) 19.7% (24) 0.8% (1) 0.8% (1)

% of seats under Formula 1 48.4% (59) 36.1% (44) 14.7% (18) 0.8% (1) 0.0% (0) % of seats under Formula 2 52.5% (64) 35.2% (43) 12.3% (15) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0)

The number of seats out of 122 appears in parentheses. KDP = Khmer Democratic Party CNSP = Cambodian National Sustaining Party


Formula 1 is the legal formula for seat allocation in the 1998 Election of the National Assembly. The inclusion of Formula 2 in the May 29 NEC Rules & Procedures must be either (1) a simple administrative error, or (2) an attempt by someone in the NEC to create an option so that once the election results started to come in, the more advantageous of the two formulae could be selected.

We urge all those who have been supporting the electoral process in Cambodia to help ensure that the will of the Cambodian people is not distorted by a technical maneuver that has far-reaching political implications.

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