CNRP, K Chhnang Governor File Dueling Election Complaints

The governor of Kompong Chhnang City has filed a defamation complaint with the provincial election committee against three local CNRP officials, the chief of the committee said on Friday.

Governor Hy Monorom’s complaint is a reaction to a complaint the CNRP filed against him on Tuesday with the committee. The CNRP complaint alleges that the governor ordered a car mounted with a bullhorn to be driven around the city on Monday night, blaring a message telling people not to join the opposition’s council election rally the following day.

However, while the CNRP’s complaint has already been dismissed by the committee, the body is investigating the governor’s charges of defamation.

“We are investigating the complaint filed by the governor, Mr. Monorom, to make sure that this is a case of defamation,” said Nuon Chanly, chief of the Kompong Chhnang provincial election committee. Ms. Chanly, who rejected the CNRP’s initial complaint against the governor, said that the defamation case had been leveled against three provincial CNRP officials, but declined to name them.

“The CNRP is confused,” Ms. Chanly said. “The voice that was broadcast was just a voice informing the people that the campaign was coming to the town, and that there might be traffic jams.”

However, Key Wandara, a CNRP lawmaker-elect for Kompong Chhnang province, who filed the initial complaint against Mr. Monorom, said that he had strong evidence that the governor had in fact attempted to interfere with the opposition rally.

“The messages broadcast were not neutral,” Mr. Wandara said. “And the [city] governor and the provincial election committee are not neutral.”

“We have a confession from the driver of the car about the message and we also have a recording of the message to prove that the governor was broadcasting information against the CNRP.”

While the Kompong Chhnang provincial election committee continues to investigate the governor’s counter-complaint of defamation, Mr. Wandara said he had forwarded his rejected complaint to the National Election Committee.

Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the NEC, said he had heard of the complaints but they had not yet arrived at his office.

In a separate case, the Phnom Penh election committee has received a formal complaint from the CPP regarding an opposition activist who was apprehended by local officials in Phnom Penh last week.

The man, Im Namkea, 29, was transporting 347 video-CDs that contain material critical of the ruling CPP.

Long Chhenkai, director of the Phnom Penh election committee, confirmed that the complaint had been filed. He said he was seeking Mr. Namkea for questioning because he had broken a pre-election edict not to criticize other political parties.

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