Funcinpec Gathers Evidence for NEC

As Funcinpec party officials put together their case alleging electoral cheating, three provinces and a municipality have emerged as locations of widespread abuses, a party spokesman said Fri­day.

Kampot, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng provinces and Kep municipality are cited regularly by party officials, Non­arith Ananda said.

He said reports and evidence of poll violations are pouring into party headquarters. A press communique released Friday additionally described “typical’’ intimidation and threats in Takeo, Kan­dal, Kompong Thom and Battam­bang provinces.

“These are blatantly obvious,” Nonarith Ananda said as he showed photographs of allegedly unsealed and improperly sealed ballot bags to reporters.

He said several white and blue ballot bags were tied with ordinary plastic string in­stead of numbered or locked seals.

He said party officials will in­clude the photographs and other evidence in a formal complaint they will submit to the National Election Commission within three days of the release of the official preliminary results, which had been scheduled for today but have now been postponed.

Meanwhile, top party officials reiterated Friday their stance that they would not comment on Hun Sen’s offer to form a three-way coalition government until the NEC completes an independent investigation of their fraud claims.

Party officials also declined Sat­urday to reveal the new post that Prince Norodom Ranariddh will seek.

“We will wait for the counting,” said party official May Sam Oeun, who was annoyed at the early release of partial election figures both by the NEC and the CPP.

“Not only is it premature [to release early figures]; it is intimidation,” he said, apparently implying that a CPP document releas­ed the day after voting claiming 66 of 122 National Assembly seats for the party was meant to influence the NEC’s count.

Nonarith Ananda said he questions the impartiality of the NEC, a group he says is staffed with “CPP sympathizers.” But he hopes they will “put the interests of the country before the party,” he said. “They are the only body that can give people hope.”

He also said Funcinpec will appeal to the international community by giving its evidence to US Ambassador Ken­neth Quinn and others. Nonarith Ananda sent an appeal letter Thursday to US President Bill Clinton.

NEC officials insisted Wed­nes­day that the ballot count was carried out fairly and the ballot bags, watched over and signed by election observers, were tamper-proof. “I can assure you no one can manipulate,” NEC Gen­eral-Secretary Im Soursdei told members of the press.

The CPP declared the election fair in a Tuesday statement. “The CPP would like to appeal to all parties and politicians to please accept and respect the decision of the Cambodian people to choose the destiny of our country in the spirit of democracy,” the statement said.

The Funcinpec letter to Clinton asks the US to help “bring about not the perfect election re­sults …but rather…results which reflect the mood of the people.” (Ad­dition­­al reporting by Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

The letter maintains a tone of moderation, asking that the president “constructively engage with the dominant ruling party,” in investigating the irregularities.

When Nonarith Ananda was asked how he would respond if the NEC did not reach a verdict of widespread cheating he said, “we will keep complaining. It’s going to take a long time to resolve,” he said.



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