Early Results: CPP Set to Dominate Commune Councils, Opposition Decimated

3 min read
Vote counting at Chea Sim Boeng Keng Kang High School in Phnom Penh on June 5, 2022. (Tran Techseng/VOD)

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party is claiming a near-clean sweep of the country’s 1,652 communes, as the NEC’s preliminary results from around 13% of communes so far suggest the party is on track to a whitewash.

If the results continue, the ruling party will maintain near-complete control over all levels of governance in the country — with the CPP holding all National Assembly and Senate seats, both of which will be up for election next year. Commune council seats, however, which are allocated by vote shares, will likely see a greater diversity of parties.

NEC results have trickled in on an official website, and as of 8:30 p.m. the CPP has won 216 commune chiefs to the Candlelight’s one chief position. The opposition party is set to run the commune council in Kampong Thom’s Kraya commune.

Sok Eysan, CPP spokesperson, said the party was successful because it had the right policies and worked hard for the electorate and the country’s development.

“[The] CPP officials bend their bodies to serve people with loyalty and complying with the party’s policy,” he said.

Election day saw accusations of irregularities, mostly from the Candlelight Party, which alleged its polling observers had been scared into not working and that there was lack of access to counting procedures in polling stations.

Eysan dismissed these accusations and alleged infringements as “little” cases, and that anything else was an exaggeration.

“If that is the case, these are just little incidents. And there is no election that goes perfectly,” he said. “But if there are cases like the opposition party mentioned, they have to file a complaint to NEC to solve it through procedure.”

“If there is no official complaint, it is just an exaggeration.”

Several provincial governors went online to claim the CPP would sweep every commune-chief seat in their provinces based on party monitors.

Thach Setha, the Candlelight Party’s vice president, said he had seen poor results today, but continued to blame threats from authorities.

“I prepared, but we also knew that we would get this result since we have been strongly threatened,” Setha said. “We almost could not register the candidates, but with hard work and participation from the people, we prepared 1,623 communes.”

Setha said his party had faced further threats when registering observers, and added that monitoring was a problem on Sunday.

“When they started counting the ballots, [we] were chased out and they kept just their people. So they could do whatever they wished. That’s why I see that this election result is worse than the previous election,” Setha said.

Other concerns raised during the day included local officials counting and checking the names of people coming to vote, gift-giving, and polling stations being closed up for vote counting.

Asked whether he would accept the result, Thach Setha said: “This is a struggle for democracy, and it is not an equal competition. … So the result of our struggle — we have to accept it according to what we tried.”

He added that he would seek reforms to the NEC in the future.

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