Cambodia 'votes rigged'

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The Independent Online
PHNOM PENH (Reuter) - Suspected Khmer Rouge guerrillas killed one UN peace-keeper and wounded three yesterday as UN officials wrangled with Cambodia's ruling party over alleged voting irregularities in last week's historic election.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) said the final results should not be announced because of irregularities in the voting and the handling of ballot boxes. The call came after the UN said the royalist Funcinpec party was leading in heavily populated rural provinces.

'Untac (the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia) has decided to continue to issue to all interested people progressive results of counting,' the UN spokesman, Eric Falt, said.' We have absolutely no plans to change our procedure. There were no irregularities. This process has been absolutely free and fair,' Mr Falt said.

A Uruguayan peace-keeper was killed and two Uruguayans and a Pole were wounded in the midday attack on a UN truck and jeep in Kompong Cham province, near the Vietnamese border, Mr Falt said. The dead man was the 17th Untac peace-keeper killed this year and his death marred the relatively peaceful vote count in Cambodia's first multi-party election in decades. The Khmer Rouge, which widely boycotted the polls after withdrawing from a UN-backed peace plan signed in 1991, was believed to be responsible for the attack.

With 43 per cent of votes counted by Monday night, the UN announced that national totals so far were 36.7 per cent for Funcinpec and 35.3 per cent, for the CPP. Next among the 20 parties that contested the six-day, UN-run elections was the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party which garnered 3.4 per cent. 'The trend nationwide is for Funcinpec,' a UN official said. 'It will continue and this is probably why (the CPP) are reacting in this way.' Final results may be known today.

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