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" Killing fields of Cambodia, not the only injustice for Cambodian victims only; but, it's for the whole humanity." A survivor

Reposted: Cambodia’s flawed miracle,Has Hun Sen managed to fool the world, if not the voters?

This piece was published 4 years ago . Then ASEAN refused to recognize Hun Sen’s regime. The irony is because of China changed its position and accepted Hun Sen as its stooge in bullying the West. In time Hun Sen has grown from a thug, as Ex Thai FM Kasit Piromya put, to be ASEAN’s door mat to wipe feet of the bunch of dictatorial leaning regimes in the region.  Later the stauchest socialistic leaning dictator, Lee Kuan you told Obama that ASEAN secrets will got China ears soon the meeting was over because of Hun Sen. Look where and what Hun Sen becomes as ASEAN Chairman in 2012. Will the 2013 election in Cambodia  be the repeated miracle for China’ s imperialist doctrine to dominate ASEAN with its pocket book?

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Jul 30th 1998 | PHNOM PENH | from the print edition in Economist

ELECTION day, July 26th, was unpredictably quiet. It has been followed in Cambodia by the sound and fury of rival politicians jousting for power.

The general election was the second attempt by Cambodians to choose their own leaders after more than two decades of war, genocidal rule and more war. Unlike the first election, staged in 1993 after a United Nations operation that needed $2 billion and around 20,000 outsiders, this one was run by Cambodians. But it would never have been possible without intense foreign pressure on Hun Sen, Cambodia’s authoritarian leader, to allow opposition politicians to campaign. Last year Mr Hun Sen staged a coup. Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who had shared power as joint prime minister with Mr Hun Sen, fled the country. The incentive for Mr Hun Sen to allow him to return was the prospect of international legitimacy and a resumption of the aid cut off after the coup.

Neverthless, against the background of coup-related violence, extra-judicial killings and the general intimidation of voters by Mr Hun Sen’s followers (plus the confusion of 39 parties), no one was quite sure whether Cambodians would have the confidence to vote. But Mr Hun Sen ordered a halt to violence and it largely stopped. Far fewer people were killed than in the 1993 election, and the 500-plus international observers sent to monitor the polling and the counting of votes appear to have reassured voters. Over 90% of the adult population turned out for an election that was peaceful and looked orderly.

Relieved foreign observers were quick to lavish praise. In its haste to be first on the draw, the UN co-ordinated Joint International Observer Group gave the election a clean bill of health without even waiting for the end of the count. The process of polling and counting, it confidently declared, was “free and fair to an extent that enables it to reflect in a credible way the will of the Cambodian people.” Others were even more lavish in their praise. A former American congressman, Stephen Solarz, thought history might well record what happened on July 26th as “a miracle on the Mekong”.

The euphoria evaporated fast. First, there was a delay in the release of the results. Two days after the poll, Mr Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) boasted that, with 90% of the count complete, it would win 66 of the 122 seats in the National Assembly. Prince Ranariddh’s royalist party, it said, would win 42 to 45 seats and the other main opposition party, Sam Rainsy’s, would get 13. By coincidence, perhaps, the figures tallied with targets announced by the CCP before the poll.

Mr Rainsy was quick to pounce. “They stole the vote,” he said. Prince Ranariddh soon joined in. At a joint press conference, these uneasy allies announced they would reject the result of the election and keep their winning candidates from taking their seats in the assembly, threatening to paralyse its proceedings even before it met.

A new government needs the approval of two-thirds of the parliament. The opposition’s worry was that Mr Hun Sen might have completed at the ballot box the consolidation of power that his thugs started with guns, and this time with the blessing of the world’s monitors. Mr Hun Sen said he was willing to form a coalition with the prince. But he also said he would change the constitution and go it alone if a coalition proved impossible. On July 30th he asked King Norodom Sihanouk, the prince’s father, for help in resolving the stalemate. The king is still a power in Cambodia.

The Ranariddh-Rainsy axis has yet to show that its complaints are based on real evidence of fraud, not the bitterness of losers. Yet the growing chorus of complaints, about a variety of issues ranging from suspicious procedural lapses in the counting to the discovery of discarded ballot papers, was enough to put a serious dent in the credibility of the count.

The complaints may yet put a serious dent in the credibility of the monitoring operation in general, and tarnish the role of the European Union, as principal paymaster and judge, in particular. To many observers the whole exercise had looked flawed from the outset.

The determined attempt by some European embassies in Phnom Penh to play down the contempt for the rule of law shown by Mr Hun Sen’s government was matched by the failure even to challenge its lock on the election machine. The Association of South-East Asian Nations, which delayed Cambodia’s admission to membership after the coup, now seems ready to accept the election’s validity. Not surprisingly, some of the foreign observers now feel, as one put it, “It looks like we were lured into a trap.”

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Written by Kham

11/07/2012 at 6:39 pm

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