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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC ends complaint review

People go through NEC voter lists in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac commune last year.
People go through NEC voter lists in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac commune last year. Pha Lina

NEC ends complaint review

The National Election Committee yesterday said it had wrapped its 11-day review of complaints alleging that foreigners had registered for the provisional voter list, finding just two of the 142 suits of complaints worthy of further investigation.

The 142 separate complaints raised questions about the Cambodian citizenship of more than 2,500 registered voters – a charge led by the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the cases still undecided involved names removed by lower-level authorities, decisions the body was questioning given the evidence presented.

“They relate to the lower authorities deciding to eliminate the alleged names. But when the NEC checked them, they had enough documents so we need to do more investigation,” he said.

Puthea had earlier claimed there were around 210 groupings of complaints, but yesterday clarified that many had been dealt with on the commune level. Additionally, smaller complaints, like misspelled names and incorrect addresses, had been corrected at the commune level after consultation with the NEC.

After the registration process, the CNRP initially claimed that about 5,000 foreigners had signed up to vote, but earlier this week confirmed that only 2,500 names had been submitted to the election body.

The NEC has handed over all the names to the Ministry of Interior to cross-check identification card validity, with the ministry earlier this week saying it had cleared 152 of the 179 names submitted to it on January 15, with the remaining requiring further investigation.

CNRP official Meng Sopheary yesterday said the NEC should have additionally investigated if those “Vietnamese people” should have had ID cards before deciding to retain their names.

However, she added that about 34 suits had been forwarded to the Constitutional Council and she hoped the body would agree with the CNRP’s claims.

“The CNRP decided to forward the complaints to the Constitutional Council to take into consideration the conditions proving their nationality,” Sopheary said.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog NICFEC, said the NEC should have questioned the 2,500 individuals personally before determining the complaints.

During the first few days of the review, a handful of people were asked to provide testimony before the NEC to prove their nationality, however, this was not done across the board.

“Another thing, the solutions process was not transparent. On the first three days, the solutions were decided publicly but then it was [behind] closed doors,” he added.

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