Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has written a letter to National Election Committee (NEC) President Im Suosdey requesting that the original copies of important election-day documents be stored in a safe place for fear they could be tampered with.
The letter, dated Wednesday and obtained Thursday, says that documents stored in so-called “safety box A” packages could prove vital in carrying out a legitimate investigation into alleged irregularities during the July 28 national election.
“Safety box A is of very high importance because safety box A stores many of the original documents from polling stations, and ballot-counting figures,” Mr. Rainsy said in the letter, listing the 1102 and 1108 forms, the voter lists used on polling day, and the damaged, invalid and unused ballots collected by the NEC as among the key contents kept in the sealed boxes.
The 1108 forms are the forms on which ballots cast for each party are tallied during counting, while the 1102 forms are used to record the final figures from each station. Both are copied by hand to separate documents for use by the NEC.
The letter sent by Mr. Rainsy on Wednesday says that the Constitutional Council of Cambodia—which is currently hearing appeals against decisions by the NEC to reject complaints of irregularities—could agree to the CNRP’s repeated requests to crosscheck the documents kept by the NEC in safety box A.
“The original documents in safety box A are evidence to be used as the basis for monitoring and verifying election results…that will critically impact on the election results and the seats in the National Assembly,” Mr. Rainsy said.
A statement released by the Constitutional Council on Thursday confirmed Mr. Rainsy’s claims about the safety box A documents, but said that 34 out of 39 complaints of election irregularities submitted to the council had already been resolved since the council started meeting on Tuesday.
“The Constitutional Council can decide that the National Election Committee open a number of safety box As for clarification [of results],” the council’s statement says, citing the Law on the Election of the National Assembly, laws outlining the council’s powers and regulations put in place specifically for the election of the National Assembly’s fifth mandate.
A representative of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia said earlier this week that only the original 1102 forms sealed in safety box A should be used to investigate irregularities, as tampering was possible with other forms of the document, but NEC officials have so far refused to open the packages.
Mr. Suosdey said Thursday that he had replied to Mr. Rainsy’s letter to inform him of the security measures for the packages that are already in place.
“I…told him that we already have these packages well prepared, so there is no need to move them,” he said, dismissing Mr. Rainsy’s suggestion that the packages could be sabotaged.
“They are now at the safest place at our headquarters, they are very heavy…and we have code numbers to unlock them,” he said.
Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia director Hang Puthea said Thursday that Mr. Rainsy’s request was reasonable, as there have already been accusations of tampering with the sealed safety box A documents.
“It’s very important to have a high security place [for the documents] because if someone destroys them…we would not have any evidence about the election,” he said.
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