Control of District Council Decided by Lottery

Control of a 17-seat district council in Kompong Cham province was determined by a Buddhist monk pulling a name out of a box Wednesday after election results revealed an equal number of votes for both parties.

The CPP and CNRP each came away with 36 votes after commune councilors voted in Choeung Prey district on Sunday in the elections for the district and provincial councils.

Following election laws, both parties were subsequently awarded eight seats, according to Mang Meng Huon, director of the provincial election committee, and the 17th seat was then awarded based on a “lottery.”

“There cannot be a draw because there can only be one chief district councilor,” he explained. “We organized to put two pieces of paper reading ‘CNRP’ and ‘CPP’ and asked a monk to choose one.”

The CPP won the lottery, he said, giving the party nine seats.

“This has never happened before,” Mr. Meng Huon said.

“That is why we chose a monk, because monks are Buddhist, honest, and are respected by people all over the country.”

Tep Nytha, the secretary-general of the National Election Committee, confirmed that such a lottery was in accordance with the law.

“According to the law, a monk must pick the vote to convince the other party and make sure that it is true and correct,” Mr. Nytha said.

However, Pok Kimsroeun, a CNRP member elected to the Choeung Prey council, accused the CPP and electoral officials of foul play.

“I am not happy with this, because the CNRP’s paper was placed under the CPP’s paper, so when they shook it, it may not have moved anywhere,” he said, adding that the monk was complicit in the deception.

“I saw that before the monk picked the paper, he looked into the box. This is unjust. I think this monk is not independent, and is supporting the CPP.”

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