45 Parliamentarians Want NEC to Disband

Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Tuesday received a petition signed by 45 parliamentarians requesting that the National Elec­tion Committee be dissolved, lawmakers said Tuesday.

Fourteen Sam Rainsy Party par­liamentarians and 31 Funcin­pec National Assembly members signed the petition requesting that the NEC’s five members be called into question concerning election irregularities, said Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay. Funcinpec members Princess Norodom Vacheara, Health Mini­ster Hong Sun Huot, Co-Minister of Interior You Hockry, and Nat­ional Assembly President Prince Norodom Rana­riddh did not sign the petition, Son Chhay said. The prin­cess is out of the country, he said.

Funcinpec parliamentarian Ok Socheat confirmed his party mem­bers’ support of the petition and said the document aims to force an NEC overhaul for future elections. “We propose to blame the NEC and dissolve the NEC be­cause they were biased,” he said.

The Sam Rainsy Party’s sole com­plaint waged with the Consti­tu­tional Council demands a re­count in three provinces and Phnom Penh due to alleged election irregularities. Funcinpec’s two Constitutional Council grievances accuse the NEC of mishandling election procedures and charge the committee with working in league with the CPP.

The CPP-controlled Interior Ministry in 2002 pared the NEC down from 11 to five hand-picked members. NEC President Im Suosdey, a long-time CPP loyalist, was approved by the Assembly in September 2002 amid opposition party protests against the appointment. CPP Co-Minister of In­terior Sar Kheng said parliamentarians must accept the NEC’s five members because the As­sem­bly ap­proved them.

“Where they come in, they have to leave from the same place,” Sar Kheng said Tues­day.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha on Tuesday denied being a ruling party sympathizer and dismissed the seriousness of the petition. “It is just a complaint. They will not have enough quorum [in the Assembly] to hold a meeting,” he said.


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