The National Election Committee (NEC) on Thursday released an 80-page white paper in English and Khmer on the election process defending its preliminary results and saying that complaints over irregularities on election day have been solved.
Speaking at a press conference just two days before the opposition is set to hold a mass demonstration against the preliminary election results, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that the report was issued in order to explain the electoral process and how the NEC had ensured all complaints over irregularities have been fairly solved.
“The report includes information about the safety packages that the Constitutional Council gave the order to open, and the process that the NEC used to address accusations of fraud,” Mr. Nytha said, referring to the envelopes in which official polling data was kept after the vote.
The white paper also details results from polling stations, explains how NEC staff are selected and also includes information on the registration process, candidates and complaints.
Reacting to claims from the opposition that the safety packages were improperly opened due to electoral fraud, Mr. Nytha said it was the fault of poorly trained NEC officials and rejected claims that polling documents had been tampered with.
“We saw that some safety packages had not been closed because NEC members at the lower level were careless,” he said.
Mr. Nytha added that the NEC would likely not change its preliminary results ahead of Sunday, when it is set to announce its official results.
“As we know, the result will not be changed; the CPP has 68 seats and the CNRP 55,” he said.
The report says that the preliminary results giving 68 National Assembly seats to the ruling CPP and 55 seats to the CNRP, matched the results calculated from forms at each polling station stating the total number of votes.
It adds that the CNRP’s claim to 63 National Assembly seats—a parliamentary majority—was false due to mistakes in how it calculated the number of voters.
“If these claims had been based on Form 1104, which every one of CPP and CNRP’s agents as well as Comfrel observers had received from each polling station, the results should not have differed,” the white paper says, referring to the document used to tally the total number of votes at polling stations.
The NEC paper also reiterated that the investigation committee with NGO and U.N. participation proposed by the CNRP was not legal.
“It would push the NEC and Constitutional Council to exercise their roles and responsibility outside the framework of [the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly] and the Constitution, which leave the entire electoral process and any dispute that may arise in the hands of the NEC and the Constitutional Council.”
The report also claimed that the NEC had gained praise from international observers of the election process.
“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the State Department of the United States of America, the European Union and others expressed their satisfaction with the conduct of the election,” the white paper says.
But since the election, the U.S. State Department and Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh have called for an independent investigation into election results and the European Union.’s high commissioner, Catherine Ashton, said in a letter to opposition leader Sam Rainsy that “alleged irregularities will have to be dealt with before the final result can be announced.”
So far, the investigation carried out by the Constitutional Council and NEC has rejected 14 out of 15 complaints submitted by the CNRP over election-day irregularities.