Tuesday, 29.7.2008: National Election Committee Announced that the Election Was Fair, but Civil Society Organizations and Party Representatives Claim It Was Not

Posted on 30 July 2008. Filed under: Week 571 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 571

“The fourth term election day passed, but what is left are irregularities during the election day, leading to the accusation that the election was not fair. As for the National Election Committee [NEC], it announced that the election proceeded freely and fairly, and that there were no significant problems disturbing the election.

“Mr. Mao Sophearith, a member of the NEC, made some general announcements about the election day in a press conference in the afternoon of 27 July 2008, one hour after the election stations had closed, that all election stations had been operational, although it was raining and windy in Koh Kong and in Sihanoukville. There were problems with some ballots, because one election office had dropped the ballots into water in Prey Veng, and the ballots of two election stations in Poipet were not usable, but they were substituted in time. As for security, there was no problem.

“Mr. Mao Sophearith added that there were some irregularities, such as the irregular issuing of Forms 1018, and names missing from voter lists, but these problems happened only in Phnom Penh, there were no such problems in other provinces, he said.

“When asked about the problem that some parties had raised, that for this election tens of thousands of voters had been omitted from the voter lists, Mr. Tep Nitha, the secretary-general of the NEC, responded that during the elimination campaign in 2006, the NEC had eliminated 585,723 names countrywide, and the NEC had announced the elimination of names to clean the list publicly and broadly, and there were monitors from the political parties and from civil society organizations involved.

“Many people said about these irregularities in the election, that they had registered very correctly, some asserted that they had voted two or three times in past elections, but now their names were not found in the voter lists, though they had not changed their place of residence; but the names of some others who had died already, were still on the voter lists.

“A person in Boeng Tumpun said that only one of the four members of their family was on the voter list – the names of the other three could not be found. An old woman said that she had voted during former elections already three times, and she had never changed her residence to any other place, but in this term, she could not find her name; then, she had to go back home with disappointment.

“A man rode on a motorbike to many election offices, but he could not find his name. He just could not believe this, so he decided to ride on his motorbike back to his home, and then returned on foot to many election offices to find his name, but he still could not find it. He said he regretted it very much that he could not vote because his name could not be found. He still cannot imagine how his name can be missing, because he has already voted there times in past elections, and he even had checked and had found his name clearly on the list before the election day.

“Different sources reported that in addition to the aforementioned people, many other people raised similar questions, and some people walked repeatedly to the election stations to find their names, because they could not believing that their names were lost.

“Unofficial sources reported that alone in Chak Angrae Kraom, in Boeng Tumpun, and in Stung Meanchey, tens of thousands of names were missing on the lists.

“Ms. Pong Chiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], the director of LICADHO, said that if it is true that many names were missing, the election was not fair.

“Mr. Thun Saray, the president of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections’ Board of Directors [COMFREL], mentioned in a press conference at about 7:00 p.m. of 27 July 2008 that names were missing mainly in Phnom Penh. ‘Therefore, we have not estimated the definite number of voters who could not vote.’ However, Mr. Thun Saray stressed that during the elimination of names to clean the voters’ lists, COMFREL had already voiced their concern, because COMFREL had found that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 people’s names had been omitted incorrectly.

“An announcement about preliminary results showed the following:

“On the election day of 27 July 2008, there were serious problems because many voters could not find their election stations, or their names on the lists. Such cases happened in almost all provinces and cities. These irregularities will affect the results of the election, as many people could not vote; though there are many people who could vote, but there are problems as a result of the elimination of voters from the lists, and of the relocation of election stations in some big provinces and cities, such as in Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey, and Kompong Cham, especially in the following areas of Phnom Penh: in Tonle Basak [Dey Krahom and ‘Building Block’ communities, where there had been evictions and relocations], and in Boeng Tumpun.

“Mr. Thun Saray, the president of the board of COMFREL and the director of ADHOC, said, ‘Voters’ lists problems, that many names of voters were missing, that voters did not have information about voting stations (they had not receive the voters’ information papers), misunderstanding among voters about the purpose of voters’ information papers, or they had not received information papers, was the result of technical procedures as well as of political reasons. Mr. Thun Saray added, ‘There is strong disappointment about the voters’ lists problems, with the missing voters’ names, and with voters who did not get get the voters’ information papers; all this led to the decline in the number of voters [to only about 70% of the registered voters, less than during the election in 2003].’

“Mr. Kumaoka Michiya [熊岡路矢], co-chairperson of the People’s Forum on Cambodia Japan [PEFOCJ – active since 1993 – more information is here – カンボジア市民フォーラム – only in Japanese], said that he ‘was disappointed that the voter listing systems was still not reformed.’

“Civil servants and representatives of the local authorities were often present at election stations like in previous years, affecting the decisions of citizens to choose their parliamentarians.

“The issues related to Form 1018, to be provided as identification to voters, still continued into the election day, like in Mondolkiri, although the instruction by the NEC allowed only to issue this form not later than 5:30 p.m. of Saturday, 26 July 2008.

“COMFREL would like to highly appreciate the work of the NEC and of the Armed Forces regarding the election – they worked hard on the election day to process everything peacefully, they prevented the sale of alcohol on the White Day (26 July 2008), and they intervened effectively to prevent the rising of the price of transportation by taxis (to ease the financial burden of citizens traveling to their home towns and villages to vote).

“However, some parties provided transportation to voters, workers from Phnom Penh, to go to other provinces on the White Day, and to cities such as Svay Rieng and Kompong Cham. Political parties also distributed presents to voters in Champei village, Angkor Chey commune of Kampot, and in Kompong Rou and Kompong Trabaek districts in Prey Veng.

“Also, the Armed Forces were sent by the Ministry of Information to stop the broadcasts of Radio Moha Nokor, FM 93.5 MHz, at night (at around 11:00 p.m. of 26 July 2008), without any related documentation from this ministry until the morning of 27 July 2008, when the Ministry of Information announced to revoke the license of this radio station, stating as the reason that this radio station had disregarded the instruction of the Ministry of Information, and the guiding principles of the NEC, which had asked the Ministry of Information to intervene. Mr. Kol Panha [the director of COMFREL] said, ‘The implementation of legislation to punish any media who violate the laws, the procedures, and the guiding principles of the NEC was not handled fairly, according to the law.’

“COMFREL primarily has found some irregularities such as the following:

White Day [26 July 2008]

  • An activist of the Cambodian People’s Party was murdered in Siem Reap.
  • A political party activist was intimidated in Kampot.
  • There were four cases of distributions of presents in Champei commune, Angkor Chey district, Kampot, and in Svay Rieng.

  • Election and Ballot Counting Day [27 July 2008]

  • A Human Rights Party activist was murdered in Kandal.

  • Violation of Procedures

  • Local authorities, village chiefs, and commune chiefs, were present near election stations to observe voters, making them afraid; this happened in almost all election stations in Labansiek of Ratanakiri, Kratie, Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, and Svay Rieng.
  • Voters’ names were missing (the voters came to the election stations, but they could not find their names) in Boeng Tumpun for more than 30% of the voters (of a total of about 10,000 voters), about 50% in the Tonle Basak district and the Dey Krahom community, about 20% to 30% in the Stung Meanchey School [the schools serving as election stations], and in the Chak Angrae Kraom School of Chak Angrae Kraom district, Boeng Reang district, Boeng Trabaek School, Tuek L’ak, Kouk commune, Dambae of Kompong Cham, Traeng Trayueng commune, Phnom Sruoch of Kompong Speu, Daem Mien commune, Takhmao of Kandal, Ou Ambel commune, Serei Saophoan of Banteay Meanchey (Prohuot Primary School), Kompong Chhnang, Pailin, Oddar Meanchey, Kandal, and Battambang.

  • There were cases that local authorities and village and commune chiefs continued to create Form 1018 identification documents on the election day in Labansiek, commune and district of Ratanakiri, Prek Pnov commune, Ponhea Lueu district of Kompong Cham, Sihanoukville, Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, and Phnom Penh.
  • There were at least 12 cases of vote buying by giving money to voters, or promising to give money to some if they do not go to vote, which happened in Khvav commune, Traeng district of Takeo, Kompong Thom, Stung Treng, Kompong Rou commune of Prey Veng, Kompong Chhnang, and Svay Rieng.
  • There were at least two cases where cars with sign of the Cambodian People’s Party were driving up and down repeatedly in front of election stations in Pailin and in Kandal.
  • There were cases where political parties transported citizens to vote in Sampov Lun commune and district of Battambang (Office Number 0722), Labansiek of Ratanakiri, Svay Rieng, and Oddar Meanchey.
  • There were cases that the manager of a restaurant and hotel in Phnom Penh prohibited about 60% of 40 employees to vote.
  • There are five cases known where voters voted instead of another person, in Sralau commune, Malai district of Banteay Meanchey, Phsar Daeum Thkov, Kompong Cham, and Svay Rieng.
  • There were cases that thousands of voters as groups wore campaign T-shirts in Takeo.
  • There were four cases where voters wore police and soldier’s uniforms into the election station at the Department of Culture of Ratanakiri, in Takeo, and in Phnom Penh.
  • There was a case that a person went to the secret voting booth to talk to a voter.
  • There is one case of taking back a voters list from observers in Takeo.
  • There was one case that an office was closed during lunchtime in Russey Keo district.
  • There were 10 cases where voters could vote because they had just the voter information papers and their party member identification.
  • There was one case where one person was able to vote twice in Phnom Penh.
  • There was the case that observers were not allowed to go into the Chroy Ambel election station in Chambak, Kratie.”
  • Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3371, 29.7.2008

    Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
    Tuesday, 29 July 2008


    Chakraval, Vol.16, #2797, 29.7.2008

    • Results by the Morning of 28 July 208: Cambodian People’s Party Won 90 Seats, Sam Rainsy Party Won 26 Seats, Human Rights Party Won 3 Seats, Funcinpec Won 2 Seats, and Norodom Ranariddh Party Won 2 Seats


    Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1705, 29.7.2008

    • Twelve Hours of Cambodia-Thailand Talks Led to Agreement that Both Sides Will Withdraw Their Troops [before dealing with other problems – 28 July 2008 – Siem Reap – but no timing set for the withdrawal]
    • Seven Shiites Who Marched in a Pilgrimage in Iraq Were Shot Dead [by anonymous gunmen]


    Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #209, 29.7.2008

    • Samdech Euv Norodom Sihanouk Is Concerned that Siam [Thailand] Swallows Koh Kong of Cambodia [through investments by Thai former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra]
    • Four Parties Wining Seats [Sam Rainsy Party, Human Rights Party, Norodom Ranariddh Party, and Funcinpec] Rejected the Bad Election Proceedings on 27 July 2008 [through a joint statement on 28 July 2008]


    Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6409, 29.7.2008

    • Phnom Penh Authorities Warned [opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy Not to March in Protest [against the results of the election]; They Said, ‘They Should Not Cause Turmoil while Thailand Is Invading our Border’
    • Poipet Border Crossing Is Quiet after Invasion by Thailand at the Preah Vihear Temple Region; More Illegal Khmer Laborers Are Sent Back by Thailand
    • Two Cars Plunged into the Water [into a canal in Kandal and a river in Kompong Cham] Killing Four People at Two Different Places
    • Nepal Police Arrested 125 Tibetan Demonstrators [at the Chinese Consulate in Kathmandu]


    Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3524, 29.7.2008

    • Mr. Sam Rainsy Calls International Observers Not to Recognize Election Results [claiming that in Phnom Penh, about 200,000 voters lost their right to vote]


    Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4653, 29.7.2008

    • Japan Welcomes the Election in Cambodia to Have Been Held in the Best Atmosphere [according to a statement on 28 July 2008 by the Japanese Observer Team with 23 observers]
    • President of OPEC [Chakib Khelil]: Oil Price Could Drop to US$70 [per barrel if US dollar were strong and the nuclear crisis related to Iran gets solved]
    • 70 Rebels in Afghanistan [near Pakistan border] Were Killed [in an attack by Afghanistan in corporation with NATO troops]


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3371, 29.7.2008

    • National Election Committee Announced that the Election Was Fair, but Civil Society Organizations and Party Representatives Claim It Was Not
    • National Television of Cambodia [TVK] Showed Only Leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party during the Election Campaign

    Click here to have a look at the last Mirror editorial – where we provided detailed information about the 2003 election results, to compare them with the election results of 2008, as they become available.

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