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Opposition claims vote form fraud

Opposition claims vote form fraud

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Opposition parties say the CPP issued thousands of fraudulent 10-18 election forms in a bid to boost its vote tally on polling day and have vowed to fight the alleged vote rigging

HENG CHIVOAN

Sam Rainsy speaks to supporters at a rally on July 29 in Phnom Penh.

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AMBODIA'S opposition  has accused commune officials loyal to the Cambodian People's Party of issuing 10-18 election forms allowing ineligible people to vote illegally.

The 10-18 form can be issued just before an election by commune-level authorities and is intended to allow those who have the right to vote but lack the relevant identity documents to cast their ballot on polling day. 

"The CPP kept ghost voters on the lists...so they could make out 10-18 forms for people who have no right to vote such as minors and Vietnamese nationals," opposition leader Sam Rainsy said at a joint press conference with the Human Rights Party and Norodom Ranariddh Party on Friday.

"We've received hundreds of these documents...the CPP has issued hundreds of thousands of [fake] 10-18 forms which represents systematic electoral fraud across the country. this is a serious problem,"Sam Rainsy said.

 Sam Rainsy said that if the courts were to prosecute the CPP-affiliated commune chiefs who issued the 10-18 forms illegally "the entire grass roots structure of the CPP would disappear as all the commune chiefs will be in prison." He added the problem was a legal case - of public officials falsifying documents - so the parties were planning to lodge complaints with the courts.

Human Rights Party spokesman Keat Sokun said that the HRP still does not recognise the results of the election, as CPP tricks such as the use of 10-18 forms, had skewed the vote count.  He added the HRP would work with the other opposition parties to challenge the poll results.

Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Chantha also affirmed his party's commitment to working together to combat "the abuse of the Cambodian people's rights."

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said by phone Sunday that the 10-18 forms were a legitimate tool used at the discretion of local authorities to ensure that people who lacked the relevant documents but were entitled to a vote could cast their ballot. 

He said the forms were for everyone who lacked documents, not just CPP supporters, and said there were multiple instances of people who were known opposition supporters being given 10-18 forms.

On Friday, Sam Rainsy reiterated his claim that millions of Cambodian citizens were deliberately disenfranchised by the National Election Committee (NEC), saying the 10-18 forms had helped the CPP ensure that 1.2 million votes were "stolen."

Secretary General of the NEC, Tep Nytha said, "if the opposition parties want to file complaints it is up to them, but if they go to the court over this I don't know what law they are going to use." 

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