The opposition CNRP will today present the National Election Committee (NEC) with its findings from a nationwide effort to gather election-day complaints—of which the party has received at least 18,400—but believes this represents only a fraction of polling day irregularities.
CNRP officials in Phnom Penh, where 2,000 complaints were reported as of Friday, and the closely contested provinces of Prey Veng, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kompong Cham, Kandal and Kratie said that though many people had filed complaints, some citizens refrained from doing so for fear of local authorities.
Mao Monivann, a CNRP lawmaker in Kompong Cham province, last night estimated that he had collected as many as 10,000 complaints from people rejected at voting booths.
“It is a big province with a lot of communes. We have about 10,000 incidents to report to headquarters in Phnom Penh,” he said.
In Siem Reap province, CNRP lawmaker Ke Sovannaroth reported that many disenfranchised voters had been too frightened to add to the total of roughly 500 complaints lodged with the party.
“Many people confirmed with us that they would give evidence of irregularities on polling day but after being threatened by local authorities, they did not provide their [signatures] because they were worried for their safety,” she said.
A CNRP lawmaker in Battambang, Kheoy Sinoeun, who went from village to village to collect complaints, said he had tallied about 1,700 complaints.
“We have counted 1,287 people whose names were not found on the list on voting day; 181 who found that someone had already voted in their name; and 237 who could not vote because their identification documents did not match NEC records.”
“We went to the people in order to make them feel safe to report but there was often a police presence close by and many people were afraid to provide evidence.”
Kim Ling, CNRP executive in Prey Veng province, reported a tally of 2,534 complaints, while officials in Kandal and Kratie provinces gave estimates of 1,000 and 700 complaints, respectively.
CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said that investigations since election day left him with no doubt that his party had won the majority of votes.
“Initially, we concentrated our investigations on the provinces we needed the fewest amount of votes to win another seat,” he said.
“But now we have learned that it is not just these provinces that were cheated. We have information from large provinces such as Kompong Cham and Prey Veng that would suggest we might have won another seat in each.”
“Our initial figure of 63 seats, if the polls were run legitimately, may now be as high as 65. It just keeps increasing. We have no doubt that the CNRP won the election.”
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he had little confidence that the NEC would act upon his party’s findings, and that the CNRP would continue to push for an objective investigation.
“We will present our findings to the NEC as a gesture only. We don’t believe they will act but this is the next step we must take in order to have somebody outside the NEC investigate,” he said.
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