Council Claims Rainsy Missed Deadline

Desk officers at the Con­sti­tutional Council on Friday morning again rejected seven categories of election complaints lodged by opposition politician Sam Rainsy, in part because they lacked a cover letter.

And Constitutional Council President Chan Sok claimed later Friday that the complaints were rejected because Sam Rainsy missed Thursday’s deadline.

“The deadline for complaints has expired,” Chan Sok said by telephone. “He brought the complaints after the deadline. These people just don’t understand the law.”

But on Thursday, the same se­ven categories of complaints were refused, despite the fact that Sam Rainsy and staff were at the council office one hour before deadline.

After two tries, only party complaints requesting vote re-counts in 609 communes have been accepted by the Constitutional Council.

Among the complaints refused are those relating to the controversial National Assembly seat allocation formula, allegations of fraud and tampering with ballots and alleged missing ballots.                                     Appeals demanding that new elections be held in the capital, and one questioning the legality of the second prime minister’s standing in the election while still formally chief of the armed forces, were also rejected.

Sam Rainsy said the clerks told him the Constitutional Council could not accept the complaints because they had not been formally rejected by the NEC.

“They said I have to wait for an official rejection by the NEC before coming here,” Sam Rainsy said, adding that the NEC had finished its work without replying properly to his complaints.

“This is the spirit of the law. There is an appeals process up to the Constitutional Council which is what I am doing now.”

Council clerks at the front desk Friday morning noted that the complaints about recounting had been formally rejected by the National Election Committee and so only they were eligible for appeal to the Constitutional Coun­cil, the administrators told Sam Rainsy.

After a heated debate, Sam Rainsy left the envelopes containing the complaints on the clerks’ desk and walked out. He said he was angry his submissions apparently had been dismissed on a technicality by front desk bureaucrats.

“You have no power to interpret the law. That is made by MPs and must be interpreted by the Constitutional Council,” the opposition politician raged. “You are not the Constitutional Council and you should not reject my complaints at your small desk.”

A senior clerk told journalists the seven categories were rejected because no cover letter was sent with the complaints.

“You have to have a letter accompanying the documents,” said the deputy office manager, who declined to give his name. “If there is no letter we cannot re­ceive these documents because we don’t know who sent them.”

Despite delivery by prominent politician Sam Rainsy, the clerk insisted he could not accept the complaints.

“This is not the administrative procedure,” the clerk reiterated.

When asked if the Sam Rainsy Party would oblige by providing the necessary cover letter, party spokesman Rich Garella said they would not pursue the matter further.

“That’s the end of the line as far as our legal responsibilities go,” he said. “We left [the documents] there and they have them now.”





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