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Majority of electoral complaints rejected

Majority of electoral complaints rejected

THE National Election Committee has dismissed the majority of the 22 electoral complaints it has received so far this year, most of which have been filed by opposition parties.

According to a report released by the NEC at a public meeting yesterday, the complaints were mostly filed against commune officials accused of violating laws related to voter registration.

Mean Satik, an NEC member who presided over yesterday’s meeting,  said the complaints were divided into three groups: those accusing commune clerks of registering voters without sufficient proof of identification; those claiming that voters’ names are missing from the electoral roll; and those accusing commune officials of deleting voters’ names from the list.

The report shows that 13 of the complaints were dismissed by the NEC, while nine were resolved at the commune level.

Among the 22 complaints was one filed by the Sam Rainsy Party claiming that three illegal Vietnamese immigrants were unlawfully registered as voters.

Mean Satik rejected the claim, saying that fluency in Khmer was not a requirement for those voting in Cambodian elections. So long as people could prove they were Cambodian citizens, they had the right to vote, he added, backing up the NEC’s dismissal of the complaint last month.

“For those speaking with foreign accents, we cannot accuse them of being [illegal] immigrants,” Mean Satik said.

But SRP lawmaker Ho Vann, who participated in the meeting, said people could not register to vote unless they couldprove they were Khmer.

“Although he has been registered for a  long time, if a person is not Khmer [we] must leave his name out,” Ho Vann said.

Koul Panha executive director of election monitor, COMFREL said that to avoid problems at upcoming elections, the NEC must investigate the authorities issuing identification documents.

The 1996 Law on Nationality states that ethnic Khmers are automatically entitled to Cambodian citizenship. But it does not block non-Khmers from citizenship, allowing for the naturalisation of foreign nationals and those of mixed birth.

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