Constitutional Council Rejects Voting Complaint

The Constitutional Council on Wednesday upheld the decision by the National Election Committee (NEC) to reject a complaint filed by the opposition CNRP regarding alleged voting irregularities in Battambang province.

Battambang marks the 13th rejection out of 15 provinces and municipalities that the CNRP has lodged complaints for, with the Council on Tuesday saying that the opposition had provided little evidence to support its claims of flawed voting on July 28.

“The Constitutional Council has upheld the [NEC’s] decision on August 16 and considers the [Battambang] case now closed,” Council President Ek Sam Ol said emphatically as he read the statement in a televised address to reporters.

Mr. Sam Ol said the Council was satisfied that voting at all 1,401 Battambang polling stations, where there was a 60.36 percent turnout, was carried out without violence or chaos, while the opening of eight boxes containing the original voting documents used to investigate irregularities, dubbed safety box A, was done so in the presence of all parties.

Suon Chamroeun, the CNRP candidate for Battambang who lodged the complaint, said that the Council’s decision to back the NEC was inevitable.

“The Cambodia National Rescue Party does not believe that the Constitutional Council will find real justice for the people who voted for our party,” he said.

“Even though we have provided a lot of evidence the Council still decides not to recognize it, which shows that the top judicial council is neither balanced nor independent,” Mr. Chamroeun said, adding that the CNRP was preparing a criminal case against the NEC’s top officials.

NEC representative Mean Satik said Wednesday that every country in the world has some faults with their electoral process and he was pleased that the Council had upheld the results of the NEC’s own investigation.

On Wednesday, the Council rejected a separate, general complaint from the CNRP relating to nationwide irregularities regarding voter paperwork at the ballot boxes and the removability of the ink used to stain voters’ fingers.

Today, the Council hearing will consider the complaint relating to Siem Reap province, while Friday’s hearing for Kandal province will be the last of the 15 complaints to be heard.

The Council’s surprisingly speedy conclusion of its investigation into CNRP election complaints has allowed the NEC to stick to its long-announced timetable of announcing official election results on Sunday, which will declared Prime Minister Hun Sen’s CPP the winner of 68 seats to the CNRP’s 55.

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