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NEC bans candidates illiterate in Khmer

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A combination photo of the NEC headquarters in Phnom Penh and the Candlelight Party logo. SUPPLIED

NEC bans candidates illiterate in Khmer

The National Election Committee (NEC) has disqualified from the upcoming commune council election 20 Candlelight Party candidates who were discovered to be illiterate, according to a notice dated March 18.

The 20 candidates were named in 13 different complaint letters filed by the public against their candidacy. Their removal came after the NEC’s chamber of nine members, led by president Prach Chan, found that the accused candidates could not read or write Khmer language and had not completed their registration and candidacy forms by hand.

According to Article 35 of the Commune Council Election, all candidates must be literate. Article 42 of the same law states that the form used for the election must be filled out by hand by the candidates themselves.

According to the notice, the NEC had carried out investigations by visiting the locations where complaints had been lodged and questioned witnesses and the candidates thoroughly before a decision was made. Nineteen of the disqualified candidates were based in Phnom Penh, while one was in Koh Kong province.

NEC said that when it questioned the candidates, they admitted they were illiterate.

According to the notice, this decision is official and cannot be appealed.

Candlelight Party vice-president Thach Setha told The Post that the NEC’s decision was “correct” and that his party would not be appealing the decision.

“The NEC’s decision was … based on the law. It’s true that some of our candidates cannot read and write, so it’s not something we will contest. However, this decision will not affect or cause our candidacy for that commune to be invalid,” he said.

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