With the National Election Committee (NEC) having released preliminary commune election results, parties have begun registering requests for recounts to the body, with one commune each in Svay Rieng and Battambang provinces appearing to have already flipped sides as of yesterday.
The NEC has received around 79 complaints, which include alleged Commune Elections Law violations, and requests for ballot reviews and recounts in polling stations. Svay Rieng’s Doung commune appeared yesterday to have flipped from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party after the latter asked for a recount in six of the commune’s 23 polling stations.
Sok Sakun, deputy director for Svay Rieng’s Provincial Election Committee (PEC), said 126 invalid ballots had been inspected following the CPP’s request, and in the end some were deemed valid. Invalid ballots could include, for example, those on which voters marked their choice outside the allotted box for the party.
“Sometimes the mark is not clear,” he said. “Old people sometimes don’t draw a clear mark, and it is not like a tick mark.”
Preliminary results for the commune showed the CNRP to have a slim 2,599-to-2,596 lead over the CPP. But after reviewing the invalid ballots, six additional votes were added to the CPP’s tally and two to the CNRP’s. The ruling party now leads the commune by a single vote.
The CNRP’s provincial executive director, Mao Vibol, said invalid ballots had been passed off as valid votes by the PEC and the party would contest that decision. “[Today], we will file the complaint to the NEC to recount all again,” he said, adding they would ask for a recount in all 23 polling stations.
Similarly, in Battambang’s Boeung Pram commune, the CNRP lost to the CPP, 608 votes to 631. However, a review of invalid ballots at nine counting stations in the commune yielded an additional 236 valid votes – 163 to the CNRP and 73 to the ruling party – according to PEC Director Vorn Porn.
“We have not yet announced which party won or lost yet,” he said. “We have validated invalid ballots only, and the final results have not been calculated yet.”