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Cablegate: Cambodia Election: Japanese - "Much More Fairly

VZCZCXRO8452
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0622/01 2111125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291125Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000622

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, P, D, DRL, INR
NSC FOR L. PHU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM CB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA ELECTION: JAPANESE - "MUCH MORE FAIRLY
CONDUCTED"; EU - "FALLS SHORT"

REF: A. PHNOM PENH 613
B. PHNOM PENH 611
C. PHNOM PENH 565

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Japanese and EU observer missions
released statements on the National Assembly Election which
praised the reduced levels of violence and intimidation and
noted the generally smooth electoral process. The Japanese
mission noted that irregularities should be handled through
the appropriate mechanisms and the EU encouraged all
stakeholders to combine their efforts in order to resolve
problems. On reported irregularities, the EU noted the scale
of reported problems was not sufficient to warrant the
conclusion that the outcome would be changed. An SRP protest
rally is planned for July 30. END SUMMARY.

Japan: Nuanced Praise
---------------------

2. (SBU) The Embassy of Japan issued a statement at the end
of the day on July 28 stating that the election was
"conducted much more fairly than in previous ones." On
irregularities, the Japanese called on the Cambodian
government to "deal with them in an appropriate manner." The
Japanese embassy called on all Cambodians to maintain the
peaceful environment that has prevailed to date and to
respect the election results.

3. (SBU) While praising an election marked by less violence
and fewer complaints as well as more technical proficiency,
Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission Martin
Callanan June 29 told a press conference that the overall
electoral process fell short of a number of key international
standards. Points raised were the lack of confidence in the
impartiality of the National Election Committee (NEC) (a
point the UNDP has been making for some time (Ref C)) and the
lack of free and equal access to the media. The EU also
noted the voter deletion list, which "disenfranchised around
50,000 previously registered voters" and are the core of a
protest being made by the four main opposition parties. The
EU praised the "good" turnout (75 percent) and the
well-administered polling and counting process and
technically good election process. Other points noted were
the inadequate voter education activities and lack of
participation by women in the official process (though EU
political officer Line Urban praised the participation of
women in Cambodia's civil society organizations during the
election).

EU: Formal Evaluation in October
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) The EU will not make its formal evaluation until
October and EU participants avoided saying whether the
election was acceptable or remarking on whether it was free
and fair. On irregularities, Callanan said that there was
some evidence, but not of a sufficient scale to affect the
outcome. He called on all parties to make use of the formal
complaints process and promised that EU observers would
investigate any allegations if they were provided with
evidence.

5. (SBU) SRP parliamentarian Mu Sochua hijacked the EU
press conference at one point to denounce the election
results. Referring to a press conference in the morning on a
NICFEC Sample Based Observation of the election, she
incorrectly/incorrectly stated that 24.9 percent of voters
could not find their names on voter lists. In fact, NCIFEC's
data showed that in 75 percent of all voting stations, the
number of voters who could not find their names was less than
five. And, in 24.9 percent of all voting stations, more than
five persons could not find their names. (NOTE: In the
absolute worst-case scenario, if all 700 voters from all of
theses stations had been disenfranchised, that would
represent 3 percent of registered voters. Based on our
observers' reporting, we believe the actual number is a small
fraction of that. END NOTE.) Mu Sochua was corrected at
least three times in the morning press conference and
appeared to understand the distinction between voters (of
whom there are 8.1 million) and voting stations, yet she
persisted in her "mistake" in the EU conference in front of
many international media outlets. Post will send the NDI
study to the desk.

6. (SBU) Sam Rainsy Party activists are passing out
leaflets in Phnom Penh calling on all voters who could not

PHNOM PENH 00000622 002 OF 002


vote on election day to join a protest at Sam Rainsy Party
headquarters the morning of July 30. At least one leafleter
has been detained by police. An SRP cabinet member told
Pol/Ec Chief that he hoped the rally would remain inside SRP
headquarters, but could not say it would not lead to an
unauthorized and potentially violent march on the NEC, which
sits in the Ministry of Interior compound less than a mile
away.
MUSSOMELI

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