NEC Rejects Hundreds of Election Complaints

The National Election Com­mittee has accepted five complaints over the voting process and will hold a trial for one complaint waged with commune and provincial election committees, NEC spokesman Leng Sochea said Sunday.

Hundreds of complaints have been filed with local election committees by party agents in the past week.

The NEC claims most complaints filed with commune election committees and provincial election committees across the country were thrown out for in­sufficient evidence. But party officials and election monitors say election officials, unwilling to acknowledge infractions, have stymied chances of a mass re­count or re-vote.

“It’s so easy to say the complaints are not properly ad­dressed. I think the CECs want to finish their job early. They’re not competent enough,” Funcinpec Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua said Sunday.

The last complaint standing is a Sam Rainsy Party request for a re-vote in Poipet, Leng Sochea said. Opposition party officials claim that polling stations were relocated without properly warning voters throughout Poipet commune, O’Chrou district, Banteay Mean­chey province. The case is scheduled to be heard today.

Complaints recorded by independent election monitors, such as the UN or the Asian Network for Free Elections, will not be considered by the NEC. Election results may be influenced only by political party complaints at the national level, said NEC Secretary General Tep Nitha.

The NEC will not consider for hearing an alleged case of voter card confiscation revealed by Anfrel last week, Tep Nitha said.

Anfrel officials were handed 31 registration cards from Koh Thom district, Kandal province, on July 27. The cards, bundled in a plastic bag and discovered by a garbage dump employee, included voter cards issued by Untac in 1993 and the NEC in 1998, said Somsri Ha­na­­nuntasuk, head of the Anfrel ob­server mission. The cards may have been taken from potential voters and discarded, she said.

Because the cards are one of 14 documents voters may present to cast their ballots, the NEC said the card confiscation does not hinder Cambodians’ right to vote, Tep Nitha said.

More than 1,000 Takeo prov­ince voters are complaining that money the CPP promised to pay for their votes has not been delivered, said Committee for Free and Fair Elections monitor Men Makara.

The voters said CPP commune chiefs paid them 3,000 riel (about $0.75) in exchange for a ruling party vote, Men Makara said. Vot­ers received vouchers promising an additional CPP donation to be redeemed after the elections, but village chiefs have not distributed the money, Men Makara said.

Vote-buying is under investigation by Comfrel in Kompong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces.

Vote-buying also will not affect election results nor incite another vote, as it is considered a personal offense rather than an infraction of the voting process, Leng Sochea said. Vote-buyers likely will not be punished, as no accepted definition of vote-buying exists, Leng Sochea said.

“If a party pays money to a person to buy their vote, and the person complains, this is a case of vote-buying. But if a party gives the supporter money and he keeps quiet, then you cannot call it vote-buying. This is the case between the supporter and the vote-buyer,” he said.


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