NEC Sided With CPP in Election Registration: Rainsy

The National Election Com­mittee on Sunday rejected a complaint by the SRP alleging that commune officials in Ratanakkiri province allowed the ruling CPP to register candidates for the upcoming commune elections after the Jan 3 deadline.

The SRP accused the NEC of colluding with the CPP to illegally register the candidates in Veun Sai district’s Phnom Kuk commune.

SRP leader Sam Rainsy said he will now seek legal action against the election committee over its handling of the case.

NEC Chairman Im Suosdey, who presided over the morning hearing, said SRP witness testimonies in the case were inconsistent. He added that supporting documentation for the defense had not been properly compiled. “[SRP witnesses] chang­ed their stories,” he said.

Im Suosdey also said he could not understand why the SRP was making a big deal about the case when registration around the country had gone smoothly.

Sam Rainsy said by telephone from France that the NEC ignored substantial evidence provided by four SRP witnesses, focusing instead on procedural technicalities to rule out the complaint.

The SRP plans to lodge a complaint today against Phnom Kuk com­mune officials and the NEC at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, alleging that commune officials forged do­cuments and that the NEC broke the law by recognizing them, Sam Rainsy said.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said the SRP is using the incident to gain political leverage.

“[Sam Rainsy] wants more to gain political benefit than to find justice,” he said, adding that the court will be able to prove who is right.

The NEC’s rejection follows a ruling Jan 8 by Ratanakkiri’s Provincial Election Committee that dismissed the SRP’s claims as groundless, pointing to a receipt the CPP had stating that it had registered candidates Jan 3.

Preliminary statistics released by the NEC on Jan 3 showed that the CPP had registered candidates in all but one of the country’s 1,621 communes.

This figure—as well as figures for all other political parties—was updated several days late, to a final count of 1,621.


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