Preliminary, Verified Election Results Expected by Tuesday

The National Election Com­mittee on Saturday said preliminary results might take until Tuesday to complete, because counts still needed to be verified.

NEC spokesman Samraing Kamsan said the NEC had re­ceived all the results by fax from the provinces, but needed to verify numbers. “If there are mistakes, we have to ask local au­thorities to explain,” he said.

Documents to help verification were still arriving Saturday. Late Saturday afternoon, for example, documents and ballots from Kra­tie province arrived at NEC headquarters in Phnom Penh.

Earlier, NEC spokesman Leng Sochea indicated the NEC might release results from as many as 20 provinces and municipalities Saturday. But the NEC released only four Saturday morning and three Saturday afternoon.

The NEC has 100 percent counts from at least 11 other provinces and municipalities, but those numbers hadn’t yet been verified to the NEC’s satisfaction.

At its Saturday morning session, NEC officials defended a decision in May to revise the formula used to calculate the allocation of seats for the National As­sembly. The revised formula benefits big parties, especially the provincial winner.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia projects that the CPP will win 64 seats—or a majority in the 122-seat Assembly—compared with 59 seats under the original formula. Under the revised formula, Funcinpec would win 43 seats and the Sam Rainsy Party 15 seats. Comfrel said Friday that the CPP could win an­other seat in Siem Reap province as well.

CPP spokesman Svay Sitha said Sunday night the party still projects 65 seats, with 42 for Fun­cinpec and 15 for Sam Rainsy.

Samraing Kamsan said the revised formula was approved at an NEC meeting May 28, and that all political parties had re­ceived the formula June 10. Min­utes of the meeting weren’t im­mediately available Saturday.

“There was no intention to introduce this…when results were already known,” he said.

But interviews with political parties, observer groups and others indicate there was little awareness of the change.

A Saturday statement signed by lawmakers representing Fun­cinpec, the Son Sann Party and the Sam Rainsy Party charged that the latest formula shows favoritism, and questioned whe­ther the change was made at a legal NEC meeting.

Leng Sochea himself acknowledged Friday there was no discussion of the change at the June 10 meeting with the political parties. The revised formula was contained within the 200-page NEC regulations.

The original formula in the May 6 draft of the Khmer-language NEC regulations favors big parties more than the formula used during the 1993 UN-sponsored elections. The revised formula, in the May 29 final draft of the NEC regulations, favors the big parties even more so.

Im Chhun Lim, secretary of state of the Interior and a member of CPP’s standing committee, said Saturday the NEC was fair and right under Electoral Law in adopting the revised formula.

“The formula does not favor the CPP, but it gives a better chance of benefit to any party which gets the most votes in a constituency,” he said.

The advantage of the revised formula, he said, is that it will lead to fewer parties, fewer campaign expenses and more political stability in the future.

Election watchdogs agree Cam­­bodia would benefit from some consolidation of the 39 parties that campaigned this year.

 

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