It made clear our concern about "violence, extensive intimidation, unfair media access, and ruling party control of the administrative machinery." British politician Glenys Kinnock, speaking for the delegation from the European Union, rendered a terse and similarly restrained verdict--one that implicitly distanced the EU observers from both the "miracle" statement and the JIOG's unqualified endorsement.
Neither the United Nations, nor the European Union, nor the JIOG ever made a single additional public statement after their relatively positive assessments immediately following election day.
Matthew Grainger, "Critics Say JIOG
Statement Jumps the Gun," PPP, 31 August-6 July 1998, p.
As the broadest-based organization, the UN has increasingly assumed leadership in establishing Joint International Observer Groups (JIOGs
), and manning their secretariats.
Several foreign ministers from ASEAN as well as developed countries Tuesday welcomed the initial report of the JIOG
that the elections were ''free, fair and representative.''
Monday described the conduct of the general election as ''free and fair to an extent that enables it to reflect, in a credible way, the will of the Cambodian people.''
Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy slammed the JIOG statement, saying, ''This is getting worse and worse.
JIOG spokesman Sven Linder, a Swedish diplomat heading the European Union observer mission, was grilled by journalists on the same point, but merely responded, ''It means exactly what I'm saying, that we believe it can be broadly representative.''
The JIOG statement said the group shared concerns over unequal access to the media for opposition parties, unresolved killings, numerous cases of intimidation of voters and opposition party officials and efforts being made ''to weaken voters' belief in the secrecy of the ballot.''
is concerned that the very high number of observers that now seem to be emerging is likely to cause serious technical and practical problems for the observation process,'' it said in a statement issued after raising its concerns with the NEC.
"We are striving to have a consensus assessment of the election and if you have three or five assessments, then the credibility of the JIOG will be weakened."
An informal understanding exists that ASEAN will base its decision on whether or not to accept Cambodia as the regional grouping's 10th member later this year on the JIOG assessment report, the official said.