Citing election irregularities and incidents of vote buying, Funcinpec officials demanded revotes in five Prey Veng communes at the first official Funcinpec news conference since Sunday’s elections.
The accusations by officials Tuesday afternoon followed another complaint made earlier in the day by Funcinpec Deputy General Serey Kosal. He accused the CPP of buying votes and demanded a revote for all of Battambang province.
“We saw the CPP provide rice and money at some of the [commune election committee] sites on Election Day,” said Funcinpec Senator Nhiek Bun Chhay at the news conference at Funcinpec headquarters in Phnom Penh. “So far, from the temporary results, we cannot assure that these elections are free and fair.”
Citing Kompong Thom, Prey Veng and Banteay Meanchey provinces as troubling areas where the most voting irregularities occurred on Election Day, Nhiek Bun Chhay said Funcinpec would call for a revote in at least five communes in Prey Veng. He said Funcinpec would wait until the National Election Committee investigates accusations of ballot problems in Kompong Thom before demanding a revote in that province.
Nhiek Bun Chhay praised Feb 3 as a generally peaceful day of voting. He did not elaborate on the vote buying charges or say who was responsible for alleged pre-election intimidation.
During an interview earlier in the day in Phnom Penh, Serey Kosal refused to recognize the election results in Battambang and demanded the NEC conduct a revote because CPP officials bribed voters with money and food the night before the elections.
“We will remember if misconduct is accepted and succeeds,” Serey Kosal said, adding that he has asked the commune election committees and the NEC to investigate his accusations.
If another election is held in Battambang and Funcinpec loses, Serey Kosal said he would accept the results. “I will clap and admire the CPP if I lose, but the electoral process must be really free and fair,” he said.
Funcinpec parliamentarian Phan Chanta also accused CPP officials in Bavel district of buying votes the night before the election. He claimed an unidentified CPP member from the Ministry of Social Affairs also bribed officials at the commune election committee office in Tamouen commune, Bavel district.
“If the CPP doesn’t respect the law and they win the elections, this is a CPP scandal,” he said.
Battambang commune election committee chief Mean Sa Tik said the committee has received the Funcinpec complaint, but has not yet started to investigate.
NEC media officer Prum Nhien Vichet said he was not aware that Funcinpec officials were asking for a revote, and sees no reason for it.
“So far, the electoral process in Battambang is good. I don’t see any irregularities,” he said.
Yim Yan, Sam Rainsy Party deputy representative for Takeo province, alleged the CPP bribed a Sam Rainsy Party candidate into not running in Sunday’s elections. He demanded a revote in Angkor Borei commune, Takeo province.
“On Feb 3, we knew our agent was bought by the CPP,” Yim Yan said. He complained that the Angkor Borei commune election committee would not allow the Sam Rainsy Party to find a replacement candidate on election day, and then ignored the party’s complaint, which was filed on Sunday.
Takeo province election committee representative Pen Long said the Sam Rainsy Party asked that the candidate who was allegedly bribed be removed from the ballot, but the province election committee couldn’t find a replacement for him on election day. He said his committee is conducting an investigation.
According to preliminary numbers from Angkor Borei commune, the CPP received 2,385 votes, while Funcinpec received 1,476 and the Sam Rainsy Party received 548. A total of 4,409 ballots were cast Sunday in the commune.
The Sam Rainsy Party issued a press release Tuesday stating the party had filed an undisclosed number of lawsuits against the CPP, accusing them of “systematic vote buying” throughout the country on election day.
(Reporting by Yun Samean, Saing Soenthrith and David Kihara)