Council Prepares to Hear Election Complaints

The Constitutional Council this week will prepare documents for a public hearing aimed at resolving complaints Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party filed against the Nat­ional Election Committee over alleged election-related ir­regu­larities, council members said Sunday.

The council’s nine officers have been divided into three groups to investigate one opposition party call for re-votes and recounts in four provinces. The Council’s in­ves­tigative teams are also measuring the validity of Funcinpec’s two complaints, which claim the NEC is biased toward the CPP.

Funcinpec currently lacks substantial evidence to try its complaints at a hearing and must provide stronger proof and witnesses supporting its charge of an NEC-CPP fraternity, Council member Son Soubert said Sunday.

The opposition party’s objections to voting procedures in Kompong Thom, Banteay Mean­chey and Svay Rieng prov­inces and in Phnom Penh will be easier to judge, as they list specific locations and times of alleged wrongdoing, he said.

Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou said Sunday the Council must reform its review process to punish systemic election problems, as well as minor mistakes.

“They have their mind set on cases. We don’t cite complaints with individual cases. We file com­plaints based on the principle of whether or not the operation is free and fair. So they have to change their minds,” he said.

Hundreds of election reports from Funcinpec officials allege that the NEC violated an election law demanding neutrality and impartiality on 12 accounts, Kassie Neou said. He would not specify where the offenses oc­curred.

Council members may conduct field investigations to determine the validity of the parties’ charges. But councilors will be hard pressed to trace a trail of election fraud, Son Soubert said.

“I doubt they will find anything, because the provincial election committees and commune election committees have been dismantled already,” he said.

NEC spokesman Leng Sochea said Sunday that NEC members are preparing their defense.

Funcinpec’s complaints should be dismissed because the party lacks supporting evidence, Leng Sochea said. In addition, par­ty agents signed election forms testifying to the legitimacy of provincial voting and counting processes.

The Council must announce a final decision by Aug 31, council member Prak Sok said Sunday.


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