NEC Rejects Election Complaints for Being Filed Past Deadline

The country’s national election body says it has rejected more than half of the 61 complaints it received about the June 4 commune elections, most of them requests by the opposition CNRP for recounts in races it narrowly lost, claiming the complainants missed the deadline.

In a statement posted to its Facebook page on Saturday night, the National Election Committee (NEC) said the 33 late complaints included 10 recount requests from the ruling CPP and 22 total complaints from the CNRP, 19 of them for recounts.

Ballots from the June 4 commune elections are recounted at the National Election Committee’s headquarters in Phnom Penh earlier in June (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

It said it had solved another 16 complaints and was still working on 12. It did not say how many of them involved recounts.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea could not be reached on Sunday.

Meng Sopheary, the CNRP’s head of electoral and legislative affairs, conceded that two of the party’s complaints missed the NEC’s deadlines, which require that appeals be filed within four days of a decision by a provincial-level committee. She insisted that the others had been filed on time.

“We want the votes to be recounted to know white and black and who is the real winner and loser,” she said. “We don’t agree with their reasons [for rejecting the requests]…. The CNRP’s complaints were not past the deadline.”

But Ms. Sopheary said the party would not be challenging the rejections.

“The NEC is the final institution that can solve these issues; we have no right to appeal anymore,” she said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said he had no problem with the rejections.

“It’s up to the NEC,” he said. “We are the ones who created it, so we must trust what they do.”

The CPP and CNRP negotiated the reform of the NEC in 2014 to make it a bipartisan body.

According to unofficial national election results, the CPP won about 70 percent of the country’s 1,646 communes, with all but one of the remaining going to the CNRP. Official nationwide results are due by June 25.

The NEC recounted ballots in three communes last week. Two of them—Boeng Bram commune in Battambang province’s Bavel district and Kompong Thom province’s Kleng commune in Sandan district—swung from the CPP to the CNRP. One, Doung commune in Svay Rieng province’s Romeas Hek district, swung the other way.

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