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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Interior examines voter names

NEC members speak to the press on the resolution of complaints regarding the new voter list last week in Phnom Penh.
NEC members speak to the press on the resolution of complaints regarding the new voter list last week in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Interior examines voter names

The Ministry of Interior on Friday sent a letter to the National Election Committee verifying 152 of the 179 names in seven suites of complaints related to the new digital voter list had legitimate identity cards and would remain on the final voter list.

According to the letter, the NEC had sent the Interior Ministry 181 names on January 15 to verify if they had legal national identity cards, with 152 names appearing on the ministry’s database.

Of the remaining 27, 20 were using older ID cards and seven people had used other forms of identification to get onto the voter list, with Som Sorida, deputy secretary-general of the NEC, saying they would remain on the list for the time being.

“Those 27 names would be deleted from the list only if the Ministry of Interior finds irregularities. There will be an updating of the list at the end of the year 2017,” he said.

The NEC itself also looked into the 181 names on February 16, with its president Sik Bun Hok at the time saying that 14 names were wrongly submitted and that they would only continue to investigate 167 names.

However, Sorida yesterday clarified that, in fact, only 2 names had been thrown out for being wrong, and the remaining 179 were considered.

As of yesterday, the NEC said it had received less than 3,000 names, far short of the CNRP’s claims of objections to nearly 5,000 names they claimed belonged to foreign nationals – most of them Vietnamese.

He added that the NEC would look into more than 20 suites of complaints tomorrow, bringing to an end the body’s investigation into 213 such suites, involving more than 2,000 names.

The onus will then fall on the Ministry of Interior to help correlate these names with its own internal database, though that process was currently proceeding slowly, said NEC spokesman Hang Puthea.

“When they file the name, we forward it to Ministry of Interior immediately,” Puthea said yesterday. “I asked the ministry to be quick so that we can solve the complaints on time.”

The NEC has so far unilaterally ruled on some 800 names, deciding to keep each one on the voter list. However, last Thursday the body decided to end its public hearings saying it was moving the proceedings behind closed doors to hasten the process.

Reacting to the Interior Ministry’s findings, CNRP official Meng Sopheary, the opposition’s director of legislation and election affairs, was unhappy with a mere cross-check of the voter list against the ministry’s database.

“The ministry must investigate this at the local level and meet the alleged people and observe them directly because it relates to their nationality. So it must be done transparently,” she said.

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