NEC Orders 5 Revotes in Prey Veng

The National Election Com­mittee has ordered revotes in three communes in Prey Veng province due to incorrectly printed ballots, an official who works with the NEC said Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the NEC decided on Sunday to conduct a revote at six polling stations in Angkor Reah, Braen Dol and Ro Reah communes after receiving reports that the names of candidates were misprinted on the ballot. In some cases, the wrong candidates were listed, the official said.

Although Funcinpec brought the Election Day irregularities to the NEC’s attention and on Tues­day called for revotes in five Prey Veng communes, the official said the NEC’s decision to conduct revotes was not influenced by the party.

“[NEC Secretary-General] Im Suosdey wanted the voting to be 100 percent accurate,” the official said. The errors in Prey Veng were mostly due to a printing error, not because of fraud by one of the political parties, he said.

According to NEC figures, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party have filed 60 official complaints with commune election committees, and all but four of the complaints have been sent to the NEC office. The NEC is currently reviewing the complaints and the official could not say if there will be revotes in other communes.

Despite these complaints, the Ministry of Interior released a statement Wednesday saying there have been no politically motivated crimes during the commune elections. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Wednesday police have arrested suspects in 16 of the 18 killings involving Funcinpec or Sam Rainsy Party candidates or party activists.

Some NGOs and election monitoring groups, however, have accused the CPP of voter intimidation and killings during the election process.

Pursat first deputy governor Khim Seila said Wednesday that CPP village and commune chiefs stole some voters’ registration cards and asked people to swear they would vote for the CPP after giving them money. He said he filed a complaint with the province election committee, but has received no response.

On Tuesday, senior Funcinpec official Serey Kosal demanded  a revote in Battambang province, and Funcinpec Senator Nhiek Bun Chhay demanded a revote in five Prey Veng province communes.

Unofficial results from Sunday’s election show that Funcinpec received approximately 22 percent of the vote nationwide, a 10 percent drop from the 1998 elections. Most of Funcinpec’s lost votes appear to have gone to the CPP, which received 61 percent of the ballots.

“This is worse than the previous elections,” Khim Seila said. “If the 2003 national elections are like this, it would be better if there was no election.”

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