Opposition CNRP officials on Friday again accused the National Election Committee (NEC) of improper conduct in its investigations into allegations of irregularities at the polls during the July 28 national election.
On Thursday, CNRP member Kuy Bunroeun walked out of the NEC’s first election complaint hearing, saying that the irregularities could not be properly investigated if the NEC’s leadership was absent.
At the center of the CNRP’s grievances are worries that the NEC is using unsealed forms that were used to count the total number of votes at the polls to investigate complaints of voter fraud.
Ean Chhay Eang, an elected CNRP lawmaker for Kandal province, who attended the hearings, said Friday that he had submitted a complaint to the NEC asking it to verify the results of 199 polling stations in Kandal where the opposition suspected irregularities.
Such a verification, Mr. Chhay Eang said, could only be conducted with the original 1102 forms, which are in a sealed package known as safety box A, and are filled out at each polling station to record the tally at the time votes are counted.
However, forms consulted at the NEC’s headquarters on Friday did not come inside a sealed package.
“I am not accusing anyone of election fraud, but the NEC should open the package A to show to all of us and the public to make clear that there is no election fraud,” Mr. Chhay Eang said.
He added that the CNRP had requested to see the original 1108 forms, on which the number of ballots cast for each political party at each polling station is tracked. The CNRP is also requesting to look at a separate document known as an 1104 form, which acts as a handwritten duplicate of the 1102 form.
In Kandal, the CNRP only needs an additional 166 more votes in order to gain another seat in the National Assembly.
During Friday’s hearing, some irregularities were found, such as in one polling station in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district where a ballot cast for the Khmer Economic Development Party was listed on the 1102 forms, but was not registered on the 1104 forms.
NEC officials present at the hearing could not find the 1108 forms for eight polling stations in Takhmao City. Mr. Chhay Eang said that the fact they were lost meant the vote at those polling stations could not be trusted.
“I’ve been informed by people…that ballots from these eight polling stations were burned,” he said.
Hearings for election-day complaints were also heard from Battambang and Siem Reap on Friday. Though none of the NEC’s leadership, including its nine-member committee, were present.
NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that although some of the 1108 forms were lost on voting day, the missing 1108 forms did not prove election fraud.
“It doesn’t mean that there was fraud because we still have a form called 1109 that records the number from the form 1108 but he [Mr. Chhay Eang] refused to use the 1109 form to verify” the results, Mr. Nytha said.
Although some ballots cast in other provinces were found not to match the 1104 forms on Friday, Mr. Nytha said that the majority of forms were accurate.
Mu Sochua, who has won a CNRP seat in Battambang province, on Friday criticized the absence of the NEC’s leading members.
“We demanded that they use the original copies of the forms from safety package A but none of the nine NEC members who play the role of a judge were present,” Ms. Sochua said.
The NEC yesterday also issued a statement saying that it rejected complaints filed by the CNRP in Kratie province on Thursday, as there was no concrete evidence of irregularities.