The National Election Committee last night upheld the withdrawal of the names of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his wife from the voter registration list last month.
After nearly four hours of deliberation, the election body said the deletion had been done in accordance with the law and that the president of the newly formed Cambodian National Rescue Party was correctly deemed ineligible to vote.
“By election law, the convict shall be deleted from the voter list,” said Im Sousedy, chair of the nine-member committee. The removal of Rainsy’s wife Tioulong Saumura’s name was appropriate as she had moved, he added.
Rainsy, who lives in self-imposed exile in Paris, faces 12 years’ jail on forgery and destruction of public property charges if he returns.
His supporters have long contended the charges were politically motivated, and he and his lawyer said yesterday the NEC’s decision had been provoked far more by politics than law.
“The decision is not a surprise for me,” Rainsy said by phone, adding that he believed the result would not stand.
“I expect this decision will be reversed, because there can be no real election without the leader of the opposition,” he said.
“It is not a judicial problem; it’s a political issue, and a political issue requires a political solution.
“I think the political solution will be for the CPP to reinstate me as an MP and put my name on the voter list.”
A number of other relatives had been removed from the voter registration list because they had changed addresses, Boeng Raing commune chief Chhoam Chheat said yesterday.
“I cannot remember the number of Sam Rainsy family members whose names were deleted, but the reason is that they moved,” he said.
Rainsy’s lawyer, Choung Choungy, said he would probably appeal against the decision. “I will discuss with my client about filing the complaint with the Constitutional Council,” he said.
In an appeal filed last week, Rainsy urged the president of the Supreme Court to rehear his case, related to the uprooting of a Cambodian-Vietnamese border marker in 2009, for which he was convicted of racial incitement and destruction of public property.
“The planting of border posts was not correct,” Rainsy wrote in his appeal. “They were planted in Khmer land, in a Khmer rice field.”
To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]