Complaint Period Ends; NEC Levies Two Fines

The National Election Com­mittee issued the first and last penalties for election offenses on Thursday, the final day of the result complaint period, as the Cambodian Center for Human Rights declared the election not free and unfair.

Of the nearly 1,000 complaints filed with the country’s election committees, only 27 were considered by the NEC. Of those 27, only two met with penalties, the NEC said Thursday. It imposed fines of 5 million riel (about $1,250) to two CPP offenders in Battam­bang and Kompong Cham prov­inces, NEC spokesman Leng Sochea said.

The NEC upheld a provincial election committee fine issued to the village chief from Ek Phnom district, Battambang province.

CPP village Chief Pom Chen was fined for driving a large boat into Funcinpec campaign boats with the intent to sink them, said Battambang provincial election official Mok Mon.

CPP village Chief Yin Pina was fined for physically abusing Funcinpec members who were driving a campaign car in Prey Chhor district, Kompong Cham province, said Meang Meng Huot, Kompong Cham provincial election committee deputy director.

The NEC dismissed three complaints filed by Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party. Fun­cin­pec agents in Prasat Sambor district, Kompong Thom prov­ince, accused Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife, Bun Rany, of vote-buying. Bun Rany allegedly offered gifts to villagers in ex­change for voting for the ruling party. The NEC rejected the case.

The NEC denied an opposition party complaint against the CPP chief of Borey Keila village in Phnom Penh.

The village chief allegedly prohibited the Sam Rainsy Party from campaigning.

Fines will be applied in small monetary increments, depending on the offenders’ living standards, said NEC Legal Service Depart­ment official Keo Phalla, noting they likely will be fined 5,000 riel ($1.25) per month.

Cambodia’s chances for a free and fair election were spoiled by political intimidation and killings that occurred throughout the election campaign, voting and vote- counting period, CCHR Director Kem Sokha said Thursday.

“Through our observers that observed the election process within the last nine months, we can evaluate that the process doesn’t fulfill the condition of the free and fair election based on the democratic process yet,” he said.

The Interior Ministry’s refusal to acknowledge election-related murders as political killings was irresponsible, a CCHR report stated Thursday.

Political parties have three days to file objections about the complaint period or against the NEC after the NEC formally an­nounces initial election results today, said Constitutional Council Secretariat Director General Tith Taing San. The final results are scheduled to be released Tuesday.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said he will file a complaint against the NEC for failing to maintain neutrality. Meanwhile, CPP co-Minister of the Inter­ior Sar Kheng appealed to political parties to stay calm.


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