Council to Open Sealed Election Documents

The Constitutional Council of Cambodia (CCC) on Friday announced it has decided to open a total of 13 sealed boxes containing original copies of important election-day documents in order to investigate irregularities at polling stations in Kratie province.

Uth Chhorn, spokesman for the CCC, said the body would invite the public to the headquarters of the National Election Committee (NEC) on Sunday to witness the opening of the boxes.

“[On Friday], the Constitutional Council decided that the NEC will open 13 safety boxes from polling stations in Snuol district’s Svay Chreah commune for clarification,” Mr. Chhorn said, adding that the opening would take place at 8 a.m.

The decision to consult the sealed election documents—which show the original tallies and total vote numbers after votes were counted on July 28—are of particular interest in Kratie.

Soon after the unofficial election results were announced, the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia said the CNRP had actually won an additional seat in the province, which would give them a total of 56 seats in the National Assembly.

The CNRP’s elected candidate for Kratie province, Keo Phirun, applauded the CCC’s decision but said that his party will demand sealed documents to be opened in two more polling stations in Kompong Damrei and Damrei Phung communes in Chhlong district.

“We are happy with this decision but we will demand the same for the two other stations, where we are very suspicious about the existence of these 100 invalid ballots,” he said.

The CCC on Tuesday began its review of the NEC’s decision to reject all of the complaints submitted by the opposition regarding irregularities at the polls.

On Thursday, it said it had already addressed 24 out of a total of 39 complaints.

The council’s rapid decision-making has raised concerns among election monitors that the complaints were not being taken seriously, but on Friday, Mr. Chhorn assured that the 15 remaining complaints, which are related specifically to the preliminary results, were being rigorously scrutinized on a case-by-case basis.

“We will thoroughly follow procedure because this is not a game, especially as we are the final body to decide on these complaints,” he said, adding that the council was currently whittling down the cases to determine the most serious, which will then be brought to the public hearing.

“Each complaint will be critically reviewed and investigated according to the CCC’s procedure,” he said.

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