The National Election Committee (NEC) has invalidated the list of Candlelight Party candidates from Tuol Svay Prey I commune of Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang district for the upcoming commune council elections after upholding a complaint filed by a resident.
According to a decision letter signed on March 22 by NEC chairman and head of its trial chamber Prach Chan, the commune election commission must reject and invalidate the candidate list of the Candlelight Party, as well as withdraw and reject candidate registration applications of the party.
The complainant, Mao Mony – a resident of the commune and a member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) – alleged that the candidate list was not qualified to be recognised by the NEC in the upcoming elections.
NEC spokesman Som Sorida told The Post that after reviewing the facts regarding the registration application along with the attached documents, irregularities in the backgrounds of four Candlelight Party candidates were found. The candidate list was signed by the party despite these irregularities – in contravention of Article 42 of the Law on Commune Council Elections, he said.
After the committee’s investigation revealed that the registration applications were improperly prepared under Article 42, the NEC decided to act on the complaint, Sorida said.
“This decision of the trial chamber has been issued in a public announcement on March 22, 2022 in front of the party and lawyers and is final,” the letter read.
Candlelight Party deputy leader Thach Setha accused the NEC of deleting the list of candidates in the commune at the request of CPP members, including Mao Mony and another candidate in the commune.
Setha said other candidates who were not implicated in the complaints had also been removed from the list, a decision which he said had been “unfair” to the Candlelight Party.
“There are 18 candidates in total, but only four of them were subject to the complaint. If only four candidates made the mistakes, they [the NEC] should, indeed, withdraw their candidacies. But they should leave the other 14 in the running because there is no reason for their candidacies to be withdrawn. This is an injustice and is unacceptable. But, more importantly, the complaint was filed by a CPP candidate,” he said.
Mony stated during the hearing that he had filed the complaint as a voter in Tuol Svay Prey I commune and had accepted the complaint and questioning records.