Election Official Fired in Kompong Cham

The National Election Com­mit­tee on Wednesday fired a Kom­pong Cham province commune elec­tion official who had been the subject of an SRP complaint for violating electoral laws regarding neutrality, officials said.

Sun Laisin, an official in Kroch Chhmar district’s Chhouk commune, was dismissed from his post overseeing legal affairs because he violated electoral laws by campaigning for the CPP, said NEC Secre­tary-General Tep Nytha.

The NEC, however, rejected the SRP complaint that had brought the violations to light because it was not properly filed, he said.

The SRP claimed that on Jan 28 in Chhouk commune’s Chhouk village, Sun Laisin, along with the village chief and several CPP activists, walked around the village dressed in shirts and caps with the CPP logo, blanketing villagers’ homes with small CPP flags.

The NEC wrote in a statement received Thursday that Sun Laisin was dismissed “on the grounds that his conduct violated the NEC regulations, procedures and the code of conduct for electoral officers.”

The SRP complaint, which had been appealed from the commune le­vel to the provincial level and finally to the NEC, was not valid be­cause the initial complaint to the Com­­mune Election Committee was turned in late and should have been submitted to the Provincial Elec­tion Committee, Tep Nytha said.

Sun Laisin was fired as “an internal disciplinary measure,” Tep Nytha added.

Complaints must be filed within three days of a violation occurring, according to NEC rules.

Commune officials, however, accepted the SRP’s Feb 2 complaint against Sun Laisin, and provincial officials accepted a Feb 8 appeal, SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua said Thursday.

“We have gone through all the procedures. They never told us that [the complaints] were technically mis-filed,” she said.

Tep Nytha said that provincial election officials were wrong to fill out an official form for a complaint filed too late by the SRP, but said that commune and provincial officials usually try to “compromise” with complaints that have not been filed properly.

Mu Sochua said that commune officials offered to remove Sun Laisin’s wife from a list of CPP activists in the area in exchange for the SRP dropping the complaint, while provincial officials only issued a warning to Sun Laisin for promoting the CPP.

The NEC is focusing on technicalities rather than addressing serious election irregularities, Mu Sochua said.

“If the NEC really wants to show neutrality, it should have someone available to assist in filing complaints,” she added.

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