Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Can 1 Million Voters Be Disenfranchised?

I just read that voter turnout was a nice 75%, in other words, of 8.1 million registered voters 6.075 million voters actually went to the polls to cast their vote. In my book this is a respectable turnout, and I am left to wonder where those 1 million voters, that according to Sam Rainsy were disenfranchised, would have come from. The country has a population of 14 million people. Since a whopping 60% or so is under the age of 20, including those under 18, the amount of registered voters makes sense. Naturally, in line with their past outlandish claims the opposition, especially the SRP, will say that voter rolls were inflated with Vietnamese voters (never mind the fact that there is an ethnic Khmer-Vietnamese minority in the country) and these Vietnamese replaced the million Khmer voters.

A Paris-based Khmer exile organization at one time even went so far as to claim that the rapid growth in population after the Pol Pot years and especially after 1989 was caused by Vietnamese immigrants.

Maybe because I am a Barang, I rather believe Martin Callahan’s words when he said the irregularities would have to be of a very large scale to invalidate the election results. The EU monitoring mission has nothing to gain by supporting the incumbent party; and the EU certainly knows how to run elections. If they are not experts, who would be?

But maybe Sam Rainsy is using just this statement as a basis for his claim. After all, 1 million would be a very large scale, wouldn’t it?

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