The National Election Committee on Wednesday stripped a CPP commune chief of his position as it judged three of more than 10 remaining election-related complaints, NEC officials said.
The NEC heard complaints from members of the Sam Rainsy Party, the CPP and the Committee for Free and Fair Elections. Grievances continue to be heard despite the Aug 30 announcement of official election results because the complaints are considered personal disputes that do not affect the election’s outcome.
NEC President Im Sousdey stripped the CPP chief of Kroch Chhmar commune in Kompong Cham province’s Kroch Chhmar district of his title. The chief, Bun Heang, was also barred from voting, running for office or participating in politics for the next five years. Bun Heang was found guilty of preventing Comfrel officials from renting equipment needed to show election monitors an educational video.
The NEC denied Sam Rainsy Party Deputy Secretary-General Meng Rita’s appeal to overturn a fine imposed by Kep municipality’s election committee. According to the ruling, Meng Rita must pay 5 million riel (about $1,250) for calling Kep provincial Third Deputy Governor Sam Sarin a “Vietnamese puppet.”
“I didn’t insult him directly. I just told my supporters,” Meng Rita said at the hearing.
During a CPP campaign rally, Meng Rita said, he tried to pass a ruling party parade in his car, but was stopped by Sam Sarin. The two men argued, prompting Meng Rita to say to his supporters, “This is the Vietnamese puppet behavior,” according to Meng Rita’s account.
The NEC fined Meng Rita for insulting the official and disrupting the campaign rally. Meng Rita denied wrongdoing and said he would not pay the fine.
Im Sousdey dismissed a complaint filed by a CPP activist against opposition leader Sam Rainsy, citing insufficient evidence.
The Kompong Cham provincial election committee originally fined Sam Rainsy 10 million riel (about $2,500) for allegedly buying votes. But the NEC overturned the ruling because plaintiff Sam Sok, director of the CPP’s Kompong Cham provincial headquarters, offered no witnesses to corroborate the accusation.
La Bavuth, a member of the opposition party’s central committee, said Sam Rainsy paid party activists to conduct election campaigns, not to vote for him.
Two complaints lodged by the Sam Rainsy Party and the CPP are scheduled for hearing today, NEC Legal Service Department Director Keo Phalla said.
Eleven other complaints will be dismissed.