An election monitor on Sunday criticized a decision allowing co-Minister of Interior You Hockry and several members of his staff to register to vote in Kompong Cham, even though the group could not prove they lived in the province.
The Kompong Cham Provincial Election Commission on Saturday decided to allow You Hockry, his wife and 19 staff members to register to vote for the upcoming commune elections, although they could not provide officials with proof of residence.
The decision showed that the election process is still under the sway of powerful men, said Neang Sovath, chief of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Kompong Cham.
“It was not just,” he said.
You Hockry, his wife and 27 members of his entourage tried to register to vote on July 22 in Kompong Cham, but did not have the appropriate paperwork demonstrating they all lived in the province, said Kov Kuy Ly, deputy director of the Kompong Cham election commission.
The commission overturned the local decision because You Hockry produced a 1998 voter registration card showing that he voted in Kompong Cham. The commission’s decision to deny seven members of You Hockry’s staff the right to register—even one who owns a house in Kompong Cham—shows that the hearing was fair, Kov Kuy Ly added.
You Hockry, a Funcinpec member, said Sunday he had proof of residency from the beginning, but local registration officials confused the paperwork.
The election commission granted his appeal not because he is a strong politician, but because he had a strong case, You Hockry added.
“This case is done and we have registered. We proved that we lived there. I have a residence over there,” he said.
Neang Sovath said the decision is a double standard, a case of “big men” getting special treatment.
A Comfrel report posted on the Internet said that some of You Hockry’s staff wore uniforms and carried guns into the registrar’s office, but You Hockry said the report was false.
“My men left their guns outside,” the co-minister said, adding that Comfrel was unfairly targeting him.
Registration for the first commune elections began July 21 and will run through Aug 16.