NEC Hears Appeals on Registration Deadline

Oct 16 was the filing deadline for commune council candidates nationwide. But when Khmer Democratic Party officials went to sign up their people on that day in Kandal province’s Rokar Koang I commune, the local election office was closed.

The official had gone fishing.

Ouk Phorik, party president, is still angry about it. “I have witnesses who saw the commune election committee official out setting his fishing net” during the hours the office was supposed to be open, he said Sunday.

Although the KDP convinced the commune office to accept the paperwork the next day, the candidates were ultimately rejected at the provincial level because they missed the deadline.

Ouk Phorik is filing a complaint with the Na­tional Election Com­mittee in Phnom Penh, which last week began hearing appeals from rejected candidates from across the country.

NEC officials said Sunday they believe that most of the disputes will be resolved at the provincial level, with perhaps “less than 10” to be heard in Phnom Penh by national committee members.

The first batch of appeals was heard last week by a three-member NEC committee comprised of Oung Kheng, Prum Nhean Vichet and Tip Janvibol.

That panel reinstated Funcin­pec slates in two communes but rejected the lineup in a third.

In Sre Preah in Mondolkiri province, the slate was reinstated due to confusion over the relocation of the commune election office. And in Puk Russey commune in Kandal province, the slate was reinstated because commune election officials were not at work when they were supposed to be.

A third Funcinpec slate, in Sre Chhouk commune in Mondolkiri province, remains disqualified because party officials missed the filing deadline through their own fault, the NEC officials ruled.

Ouk Phorik of the KDP said he is optimistic the slate in Rokar Koang I will be approved, based on the Puk Russey ruling. He questioned, however, if Oung Kheng could rule impartially as a former Funcinpec member.

Oung Kheng said he quit the party when he became an NEC official.

, and that party considerations had not affected his decision. “I ruled it most just and fair,” he said.

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