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CNRP to add more observers

CNRP to add more observers

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy rides on the back of a supporter’s motorbike during a campaign rally in Battambong province.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy rides on the back of a supporter’s motorbike during a campaign rally in Battambong province. HENG CHIVOAN

Amid growing concerns over voter irregularities, the Cambodia National Rescue Party said yesterday that they were trying to double the number of observers at each polling station to four.

“In the original plan, it was just two per station, but we know there are more likely to be [cases of] cheating with the ghost voters, people being mobilised from elsewhere, and we’re thinking we’d like to increase [the number of observers] with another two,” said lawmaker candidate Son Chhay.

The push has come after increasing instances of malfeasance, said Chhay, who noted that in previous elections, the opposition only ever had two observers.

“It’s becoming very serious; there’s more [problematic] activity … so I think it’s important for us to show the government we have support from the public [to ensure] the vote cannot be stolen.”

A day after the National Election Committee struck down his request to be added to the candidate list, CNRP head Sam Rainsy sent a letter to National Assembly president Heng Samrin and a second to the NEC calling for a revision.

In the second NEC letter, Rainsy argues that his Royal pardon automatically invalidates the earlier decision of NEC to strike his name on grounds of his conviction.

“Since King Norodom Sihamoni granted a Royal Pardon on July 12 to me, it is automatic that I receive the valid immunity and prerogative of my lawmaker status in accordance with Article 15 of [the] law on the status of lawmaker,” he wrote in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha said he had not seen Rainsy’s letter, but he would send it on.

“First, I have not received the letter, and second, I will submit it to [the] NEC when we receive it,” said Nytha, adding that he had doubts. “NEC does not have enough time, as we are busy with a lot of work on the election.”

Rainsy was sentenced to 11 years on charges widely believed to have been politically motivated, and had spent nearly four years in self-exile until the amnesty overturned his sentences earlier this month.

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