PHNOM PENH — Cambodia's hotly contested national elections took another dramatic turn Monday morning, as opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha stated in a press conference that they wouldn't accept their losing election results.
"Fifteen per cent of voters — about 1.2 to 1.3 million — were unable to vote because of list irregularities," said Rainsy in the conference held at Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) headquarters on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, citing voting irregularities as the reason for his party's rejection of the results.
"There were about 1 million ghost names on the voter list, and about 200,000 duplicate names," he added.
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Preliminary election results showed that the long-time ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won the election with 68 seats, compared to the CNRP's surprising gain of 55 seats — the biggest electoral success for the opposition in decades.
At the press conference, Rainsy called for a "technical working group" to investigate the election, comprised of representatives from "the CNRP, the CPP, the UN, the NEC [National Election Committee], and local and international NGOs," to be formed no later than August 31st.
"We are asking this not to bargain," said Rainsy. "We are not interested. We are interested in rendering justice to the Cambodian people."
"Reality is reality," said Kem Sokha to those gathered at the conference. "Do not make fun of us. We are serious. Our demand is to find justice for the people who lost their vote."
Hundreds of CNRP supporters waited for Rainsy's announcement outside CNRP headquarters Monday, shouting their support for his decision to reject the results as it was announced.