CNRP Threatens NEC With Suit Over Election Irregularities

The opposition CNRP on Monday threatened to sue the National Election Committee (NEC) over alleged election irregularities during the July 28 ballot—which both the ruling CPP and CNRP claim to have won, though the NEC’s results support a CPP victory.

CNRP vice president Kem Sokha promised to sue the NEC through Cambodia’s courts if its preliminary election results, which the CNRP claims are fraudulent, are upheld by the Constitutional Council of Cambodia.

“If the National Election Committee, the Cambodian People’s Party and Constitutional Council of Cambodia do not provide justice to the people, we will use the law to sue you,” Mr. Sokha said at a press conference at the party’s Phnom Penh headquarters.

“I am sending a message to a few leaders at the NEC: We will not stop until we sue you through the courts. We will review international law and hire lawyers if they refuse to organize a transparent investigation,” he added.

Citing a Cambodian proverb, Mr. Sokha said that by confirming the preliminary election results released by the NEC on August 12, which were nearly identical to those released by the CPP just hours after the election, the council would be “trying to hide a dead elephant in a bamboo basket.”

The NEC, acting on orders from the Constitutional Council, for the first time on Sunday opened some of its internal documents for public scrutiny.

Eight out of 13 of the safety packages from Kratie province, in which original ballot counts are sealed and supposedly kept for safe-keeping, were either left open or were sealed improperly. The documents inside were also incongruous with separate forms that had been sent to political parties.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said on Sunday that the reason for the errors was that many NEC staff at the polling station level were poorly trained and did not follow proper procedure, and denied that any documents had been tampered with after the election.

After less than two hours of investigation into dozens of complaints filed by the CNRP earlier this month, the NEC on August 18 rejected all reports of election irregularities, citing a lack of evidence, and announced it was no longer involved in a mediation process between the CPP and CNRP in their electoral dispute.

At Monday’s press conference, opposition president Sam Rainsy said now that the incompetence of the NEC has finally come to light, a proper investigation into the full scale of its failures needs to be conducted.

“The fact that we have seen a leak does not mean they should try to hide it or stop investigating…. In order to uncover systematic cheating we need to continue to open [safety packages] and we will see the actual results of the election,” Mr. Rainsy said.

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