Cambodian general election, 2013

Cambodian general election, 2013
28 July 2013

All 123 seats to the National Assembly
62 seats needed for a majority
Registered 9,675,453
Turnout 6,627,159 (68.5%)
Decrease 5.5%
  First party Second party
Leader Hun Sen Sam Rainsy
Leader since 14 January 1985 17 July 2012
Leader's seat Kandal Kampong Cham
Last election 90 seats, 58.11% 29 seats, 28.53% (combined)
Seats before 90 29
Seats won 68 55
Seat change Decrease 22 Increase 26
Popular vote 3,235,969 2,946,176
Percentage 48.83% 44.46%
Swing Decrease 9.28% Increase 15.93%

Colours denote the winning party, as shown in the main table of results.

Prime Minister before election

Hun Sen

Elected Prime Minister

Hun Sen

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General elections (Khmer: ការបោះឆ្នោតជ្រើសតាំងតំណាងរាស្ត្រ នីតិកាលទី៥ ឆ្នាំ២០១៣) were held in Cambodia on 28 July 2013.[1] The National Election Committee (NEC) announced that some 9.67 million Cambodians were eligible to cast their ballots to elect the 123-seat National Assembly.[2] Voter turnout was reported to be 68.5%, making it the lowest turnout in history.[3] Polling precincts opened 7:00 a.m. and closed at 3:00 p.m. The Cambodian Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharith announced in preliminary results that the Cambodian People's Party won 68 seats and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party won all the remaining 55 seats. This election marked the largest seat loss by the Cambodian People's Party to date, and their lowest share of seats since 1998.


The previous parliamentary elections in 2008 were won by the Cambodian People's Party, which managed to secure an absolute majority of the seats: 90 out of 123. Despite winning a parliamentary majority, the CPP chose to form a coalition with the royalist FUNCINPEC, which won 2 seats. The opposition Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party won a combined total of 29 seats. In 2012, the two parties merged to form the Cambodian National Rescue Party. However, party leader Sam Rainsy was barred from running as a candidate because he was not registered to vote.[4] The voter roll was finalised on 31 December 2012, at which time Rainsy was living abroad after being controversially convicted in 2010 of making changes to a map to suggest the country was losing land to neighbouring Vietnam.[5] Rainsy returned to Cambodia in July 2013 after he received a royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni,[5] but Rainsy failed to have his name reinstated on the voter roll and was not eligible for candidacy in the election.[4]


Cambodia had its first televised debate on 20 and 21 July. The US-funded National Democratic Institute also sponsored nine town hall-style debates with provincial candidates from almost all parties.[6]

Pre-election controversies

Voting eligibility issues

National Assembly president Heng Samrin at a polling station in Kampong Cham province.

Since Cambodia had had no official population count for the last five years, the country's population figure is merely guesswork, which has led to incorrect projections of possible voters – making it difficult for the National Election Commission to ascertain the number of actual voters that should be listed in Cambodia's voting rolls. The lack of actual population count could have led to fraudulent voting, such as voters voting in multiple precincts using different names.[7] According to the opposition CNRP, between 1.2 and 1.3 million names were omitted from voting rolls.[8]

Princess Norodom Arunrasmy poses for a photo after casting her vote.

Migrant Vietnamese have also allegedly been able to register as voters due to lax identification policies in Cambodia. The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party played up this anti-Vietnamese rhetoric in campaigning leading up to the election.[9]

Indelible ink

One of the controversies that beset the Cambodian election before it even began was the use of an ostensibly indelible ink that was used to mark which voters had already voted.[10] The ink had previously been donated by the Indian Embassy in Cambodia. Documentation by poll monitors before the election demonstrated the ink could simply be washed off using bleach or lime juice in minutes upon drying.[9] The ink used could have perhaps allowed voters to vote more than once.[10]


The ruling CPP party received 48.83% of the votes, earned 68 seats, while the CNRP party won 55 seats with 44.46% of the vote. By losing 22 seats from the previous election, the CPP earned the fewest percentage of seats that it has had in the National Assembly since 1998.[8] Other parties, including the Funcinpec Party and League for Democracy Party combined for 0 seats on 6.3% of the vote.[11]

 Summary of the 28 July 2013 National Assembly election results
Party Votes % Seats
Cambodian People's Party 3,235,969 48.83%
Cambodia National Rescue Party 2,946,176 44.46%
FUNCINPEC 242,413 3.66%
League for Democracy Party 68,389 1.03%
Khmer Anti-Poverty Party 43,222 0.65%
Cambodian Nationality Party 38,123 0.58%
Khmer Economic Development Party 33,715 0.51%
Democratic Republican Party 19,152 0.29%
Total (turnout 68.5%) 6,627,159 123
Source: National Election Committee


The CPP claimed victory in the election.[12] The E.U. and U.S. expressed concern for the concern about possible irregularities, with the latter's State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying that "we call for a transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities. We urge all parties and their supporters to continue to act in an orderly and peaceful manner in the post-election period."[13] Vietnam congratulated Cambodia on the success of its 5th General Elections.[14] French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott sent their letter of endorsement, congratulating Hun Sen on his election win.[15]


Though there were claims that the election would be "worthless" even before voting started,[12] after the election, there were complaints of election fraud. Sam Rainsy, the leader of the CNRP, declared that "We will not accept the result – we cannot accept the result...The party in power cannot ignore us anymore."[8] The international non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement that read that "the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) appears to have been involved in electoral fraud" and called for an "independent commission" to investigate "allegations of election fraud and other irregularities, including bias in the election machinery".[7] Brad Adams, HRW's Asia Director, further stated that some of the fraud consisted of "senior ruling party officials appear to have been involved in issuing fake election documents and fraudulently registering voters in multiple provinces."[7] The Cambodian government denied calls by international organisations for an independent election review,[16] while the government rejected calls for a review[13] and the National Election Committee (NEC) denied irregularities. There were also claims of voter intimidation as the ruling party controlled the apparatus of state control.[12]

Thousands of CNRP supporters gathered in Phnom Penh in September to protest the results.[17]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cambodian general election, 2013.
  1. Country Profile IFES
  2. IFES
  3. "Voter turnout keeps falling". The Phnom Penh Post. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  4. 1 2 Cambodia’s Election Panel Rejects Sam Rainsy Request to Contest Polls Radio Free Asia, 22 July 2013
  5. 1 2 Opposition leader Sam Rainsy returns to Cambodia BBC News, 19 July 2013
  6. IFES
  7. 1 2 3 "Cambodia: Ruling Party Orchestrated Vote Fraud". Human Rights Watch. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  8. 1 2 3 Fuller, Thomas (29 July 2013). "Cambodian Opposition Rejects Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  9. 1 2 Fuller, Thomas (28 July 2013). "Ruling Party Wins Narrowly in Cambodian Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  10. 1 2 Carmichael, Robert (27 July 2013). "Cambodia Poll Monitors Report Problem With Indelible Ink". Voice of America. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 "Cambodia opposition claims massive poll fraud – Asia-Pacific". Al Jazeera.
  13. 1 2 "Cambodia rejects call for poll fraud inquiry – Asia-Pacific". Al Jazeera.
  14. Remarks by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi on Cambodia’s general election
  15. "France, Australia Congratulate Hun Sen on Win". The Cambodia Daily. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  16. "Cambodia rejects election inquiry creating unrest amid fraud accusations". Daily News. New York. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  17. "Cambodian opposition rallies for second day after protest death". Reuters. 16 September 2013.
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