Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Candlelight’s Battambang complaints ‘too late’

Candlelight’s Battambang complaints ‘too late’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Election Committee (NEC) officials count ballots during the commune council elections on June 5 at a school in Koh Dach commune of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district. Hong Menea

Candlelight’s Battambang complaints ‘too late’

The Battambang Provincial Election Commission has rejected the Candlelight Party (CP)’s 19 complaints relating to the closure of polling stations during the 5th-mandate commune council elections on June 5.

CP, the second-largest party with candidates fielded across the country, alleged that observers had been unable to witness the ballots being counted.

Sok Hing, director of the provincial election secretariat, told The Post on June 12 that the complaints had been received too late, as the law required that they be filed within three days of the polls.

He said that after the complaints were submitted, the commission immediately informed the CP that it would not be investigating the complaints, and that if they were unhappy with the decision, they could lodge an appeal to the National Election Committee (NEC), whose decision is final.

“The Candlelight Party has complained that the local authorities and NEC officials did not allow them or their activists to enter the polling stations and monitor the vote count. At that point, they were not allowed to enter as it would be in breach of the agreed procedure.

“The only people who have the right to observe the count are NEC officials and agents from the political parties who had applied ahead of the elections, and they were all there, along with some other observers who had received permission from the NEC,” he said.

CP vice-president Thach Setha told The Post on June 12 that their complaints in almost all provinces and the capital – not just Battambang – had been rejected, as municipal and provincial electoral commission officials considered each of the complaints out of date, or presented with insufficient grounds.

Some complaints had been mediated and resolved at the commune they were made, with the complaints being withdrawn. Some had been referred to the national level – NEC.

“They [commissions] always encourage us to file complaints, but as soon as we do so, they are rejected. In some places, they almost begged us to withdraw the complaints as there were too many irregularities. In others, we were told we were too late.

“We always attempted to compromise with the election commissions. Frankly speaking, I think our party is perhaps too gentle, but we believe that all Khmer are one, so we expect justice and fairness,” he said.

Sam Sokuntheamy, executive director of the NGO Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), said he had observed that some CP complaints were rejected because they were filed too late, while others involved in criminal cases were also thrown out by the NEC, because they were outside of its authority.

“Political parties have the right to file a complaint if they discover any irregularity during the elections, but if the complaint is not within the NEC’s authority, they will be rejected,” he said.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida told The Post on June 12 that the commune electoral commissions had accepted 88 complaints related to election day and the day prior. He noted that of the 88 complaints, 32 were referred by the communes the municipal and provincial commissions and 56 were lodged by complainants directly with the commissions requesting that election officials be punished, he said.

“Out of the 88 complaints, 62 have been resolved, with the other files expected to be closed soon,” he said.

He added that 50 complaints relating to the preliminary election results had been lodged, all of which having been settled already.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument