Briefs: Candlelight’s Breaking and Entering Charge, 85 NEC Complaints

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Vote-counting in Takhmao city’s Prek Russei commune, in Kandal, on June 5, 2022. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)
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A Candlelight Party activist who was arrested in Battambang on Wednesday has now been charged by the court with breaking and entering.

Duong Saron, spokesperson for the Battambang Provincial Court prosecution, said the charge against the activist, Ley Sokhon, was Article 299 under the Criminal Code, or breaking and entering.

The crime, defined as entering a dwelling place using violence, coercion, threats or “maneuvers,” is punishable by one month to one year in prison.

Sokhon has posted a video of a confrontation with CPP officials around election time, in which he followed the officials to a home where a woman yelled at him before he walked through the front gate. Inside, a man denied that a bundle of cash in his hand was a bribe from the officials.

Sokhon’s wife previously said that those residents had filed the complaint against him because he would not take down the video. He was arrested Wednesday morning for suspected trespassing.

Candlelight’s Battambang provincial head Dim Saroeun said Sokhon was now in prison.

— Mech Dara

NEC Receives 85 Complaints

The National Election Committee has received a total of 85 complaints as of Thursday from across the country from three parties alleging irregularities during the commune election.

Hang Puthea, an NEC spokesman, said the committee had accepted the 85 complaints from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party as well as the opposition Candlelight Party and Grassroots Democratic Party. They largely relate to allegations that have been raised by the opposition about local officials intimidating voters at polling stations and vote-counting happening behind closed doors, Puthea said.

Eight of the complaints have already been settled, and the committee would work through the remainder before June 25, he said.

Sam Inn, spokesman for the GDP, said his party had filed five complaints at local levels: three in Preah Vihear and two in Ratanakiri. But he did not have much faith in the complaints process, Inn said.

“We have little hope since the provincial and commune election committees seemed to display a lot of difficulty in accepting our complaints, and their words seem to suggest that they are biased toward the ruling party and authorities. But we filed the complaints to clarify that we are not satisfied with the mistakes in procedures, and we demanded change in the future.”

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog Nicfec, called for greater transparency in the electoral process.

NEC chairman Prach Chan said official election results are expected on June 26.

— Nat Sopheap

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