Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Military voting scheme ‘concerning’: watchdog



Military voting scheme ‘concerning’: watchdog

A police officer places her vote in a ballot box at a Kampong Cham school during the 2013 election.
A police officer places her vote in a ballot box at a Kampong Cham school during the 2013 election. Heng Chivoan

Military voting scheme ‘concerning’: watchdog

An election watchdog yesterday announced it had uncovered plans to move registration stations closer to military bases in Kampong Speu, Tbong Khmum and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

Speaking at a press conference, head of the Electoral Reform Alliance Koul Panha said the information, which he called “concerning”, came from the organisation’s observers, and formed one of the irregularities relating to security forces to have emerged during the registration period.

“There is a problem with transparency,” Panha said. “We also think there should be a mixture of people [registered] at one station; we cannot have only one group, as it could affect confidentiality during the elections”.

Panha also said there had been cases of policemen and soldiers wearing political logos near registration booths, which had resulted in a drop in enrollments at those locations, and cases of soldiers and police registering outside their native communes.

The latter complaints come after the National Election Committee gave formal approval to allow police and soldiers to register to vote in communes they’ve been assigned to guard on polling day.

The decision, a response to a request for clarification by the Interior Ministry, has raised concerns security personnel could be mobilised to give an advantage to the ruling party.

In a document dated October 24, the NEC stated that soldiers or police on missions to guard polling booths must provide documentation establishing their identities. Authorities in August announced 76,000 police, military police and soldiers would be mobilised to provide security for next year’s commune ballot.

Lists obtained by the Post show that 174 police officers have been assigned to provide security across the six communes of Battambang’s Bavel district.CNRP activist Los Cheng Lay said many of the officers had come from outside the district, though police chiefs in Bavel and Battambang were unreachable yesterday to clarify their origin.

CNRP lawmaker for Battambang Long Botta said though election security was important, the influx of personnel into small constituencies could impact the result either through numbers or intimidation.

“It’s very strange,” Botta said. “These great numbers of uniformed officers aren’t justified by security, but they could have an impact on the result.”

According to the ERA’s first summary of the registration process, the vast majority of the 6.39 million people registered over the first month and 26 days had followed the correct procedures.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese