NEC Accused of Omitting Violence in Reports

An election monitoring group and officials from two opposition parties have accused the National Election Committee of failing to report violent incidents in its daily reports on the 30-day campaign period.

NEC reports published during the first five days of the campaign period and issued June 27, 29 and 30, have reported no incidents of violence, stating that the situation is “calm” despite large marches and campaign rallies.

The NEC reports did not mention the killing of a CPP deputy village chief in Kompong Cham province’s O’Reang-ou district who was shot and strangled to death Thursday night. Local CPP of­ficials told reporters they be­lieved the victim, 37-year-old Meas Ra, was killed for political reasons.

The reports also do not mention claims by Suth Dina, Bat­tambang province director for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, that he came under gunfire while driving his car Sunday night in the pro­vince, nor reports by SRP De­puty Secretary-General Mu Sochua that she was physically harassed Monday morning by an RCAF official who is a supporter of the CPP.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said Tuesday that the re­ported incidents were not included in NEC daily updates because they were “small cases.”

Tep Nytha noted that neither police nor election officials could verify Suth Dina’s assassination attempt claim.

“The case was unclear; we did not want to talk about it,” he said.

Tep Nytha said of Mu Sochua’s claims: “There was not big violence. If there were, she would have filed a complaint to the court.”

And the death of the CPP de­puty village chief was not included because there were no reports linking it to political violence, Tep Nytha added.

“It is unclear [why Meas Ra was killed],” he said.

Puthea Hang, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia, said the NEC must reveal all in­formation in its daily reports.

“The real situation is that there is violence,” he said.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said the NEC’s omission of information was equal to hiding the truth.

“There was less violence [than in the 2003 election], but violence has existed,” Sam Rainsy said. “The National Election Commit­tee wants to dilute the facts about the real situation.”

On Tuesday, Phnom Penh mun­icipal police chief Touch Na­ruth said he has sealed off Soth­earos Boulevard in front of the Royal Palace during the election campaign period.

Complaints from the Palace about political party campaign activities prompted the decision to close off the street, he added.

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