Election Committee Rejects All CNRP Foreign Voter Complaints

The National Election Committee (NEC) has thrown out every single complaint from the opposition CNRP that alleged foreigners — mostly Vietnamese — have been allowed to unlawfully register to vote in upcoming elections, the committee’s spokesman said on Friday.

The opposition said earlier this month that it would file complaints to the NEC about foreign voters whom it claimed did not possess relevant citizenship papers and should not be allowed to vote.

cam photo nec channa WEB
Witnesses prepare to defend their right to vote at the National Election Committee’s headquarters in Phnom Penh last week. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The complaint was widely seen as the latest example of populist anti-Vietnamese moves from the leaders of the opposition, a tactic present throughout both Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha’s political careers.

On Friday, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said complaints against 2,441 voters were rejected.

“For the complaints involved with the request to delete names from voters lists, we’ve decided to keep those names on the lists,” Mr. Puthea said. “There is no legitimate evidence at all.”

During an investigation, lawyers acting on behalf of the opposition could not provide valid evidence to back up their claims, resorting only to insufficient accusations relating to the registrants alleged Vietnamese heritage, Mr. Puthea said.

“The complainant, when we were asking them at the hearing, could not provide any legitimate evidence to prove it as they were just claiming that those were Vietnamese nationals who always go to Yuon on Vietnamese New Year and just speak the Yuon language at home,” he said, using a term for Vietnamese considered derogatory by some.

“For instance, some speak the Khmer language with an unclear accent; this could not be used for legitimate consideration, he added.

The CNRP has claimed that its monitors have recorded thousands of cases of people being registered without being able to speak Khmer or without necessary documents, and accused local officials of collusion.

Opposition officials could not be reached for comment.

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