The Constitutional Council is refusing to consider a complaint received from Funcinpec about the controversial seat allocation formula because Funcinpec, like the Sam Rainsy Party, missed the deadline to complain, an official said.
“There will be no consideration and ruling on the seat allocation formula in the Constitutional Council session,” Council Secretary-General Pith Taing San said Thursday. “The Council has not accepted any complaints about the seat allocation formula.”
Funcinpec filed a general complaint Aug 13 with the Council, including a protest that the final formula was not publicized and may have been improperly adopted. The complaint was received by the Council, unlike a similar protest from Sam Rainsy, which a clerk refused to even receive.
But Pith Taing San said the Council’s physical act of receiving the complaint does not mean it will rule on the formula.
He said that under National Election Committee regulations, any complaint about provisional election results that is filed directly with the Constitutional Council must have been received 72 hours after the provisional results were announced Aug 5.
Funcinpec Secretary-General Tol Lah was surprised to hear of the rejection and insisted the complaint was filed on time. “We’re looking to hear officially from them,” he said. “There was no reason to reject it.”
The controversy over the formula erupted shortly after the elections when the NEC told election watchdogs they were using an outdated formula to project seats won by each party.
A refined version of the formula was adopted May 29 along with the final NEC regulation, election officials have said.
The opposition has questioned the legality of adoption of the second formula. At stake is whether the ruling CPP has won 64 seats in the National Assembly, a majority, or only 59 as it would be under the earlier version.
Lao Mong Hay, a board member of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, said Thursday that the Council’s refusal to hear the opposition complaint “is not helpful at all.” He said the complaint should be able to be filed even later because final election results and seat allocation are to come later this month.
Lao Mong Hay said the stance reflected the CPP-dominated legal body’s “ignorance, arrogance…lack of deep knowledge of their role.”
He said the international community might be able to pressure the government into hearing the protest, but added, “It seems that so far the pressure is more on the opposition than on the ruling party.”
(Additional reporting by Jeff Smith)
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