Comfrel: Uphold First Formula

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections has called on the Constitutional Coun­cil to uphold an earlier version of the seat allocation formula rather than the disputed one now being used by the National Election Committee.

Using the earlier formula, called the Balinski-Young version, would take away the parliamentary majority the CPP has under the current formula, the Jefferson version.

The Balinski-Young formula was in early drafts of the NEC’s election regulations, but the final regulations contained the Jeffer­son version, which more heavily favors the party with the most votes in a province.

Opposition parties filed a complaint with the NEC, but have received no response. The Con­stitutional Council has re­fused to consider any formula complaint.

Comfrel said the minutes of a May 29 meeting show there was no le­gal decision to use the Jefferson formula.

“The minutes of 29 May contain no record of any decision by the NEC members,” a Comfrel statement said last week. “In­stead, the minutes say that [NEC member] Chhay Kim would read this regulation for another night.

“Therefore, the NEC did not legally adopt any resolution,” the statement said. “Comfrel therefore calls on the NEC and/or the CC to rescind its controversial and legally questionable decision…and allow the seat allocation formula to take place according to the original Balinski-Young formula.”

Controversy over the formula erupted about a week after the elections when NEC officials told Comfrel and several other national and international election watch­dogs they were using the wrong formula to project the num­ber of seats each party would get in the National Assembly.

Opposition leaders have im­plied the NEC did not publicize the change to leave itself room to use whichever formula benefited the CPP.

Critics responded that the opposition is simply miffed they did not catch the change and the difference means the CPP may virtually control the next parliament.


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