Battambang province – The Cambodian Youth Party yesterday complained of irregularities at polling stations here in Banan district, where the party claims its observers were blocked.
Chheang Phally, leader of the party’s provincial working group, said that there were a lot of irregularities during the vote and no effective intervention from the provincial election commission. “There were a lot of regularities at the polling stations where my observers were deployed in Banan district,” he said. “We deployed 15 observers, but they were restricted from monitoring the ballot casting process which they are entitled to do.”
“The village and commune authorities also blamed them, and we did not want to have problem and felt intimidated,” he added. “Even though we tried to contact provincial election commission officials, they took no action, so we decided to remove our 15 observers.”
Mr Phalla also said that local village and commune chiefs were loitering around polling stations, which could intimidate voters.
“People feel intimidated by their local authority sitting and eating something even though they finished voting,” he said. “They were holding documents about their constituents and it is intimidating to the people who want to express their opinion.”
Mr Phalla noted that he does not plan on filing a formal complaint to the provincial election commission because he does not believe it will lead to justice.
Instead, his party will focus on strengthening itself in preparation for the next election, he said.
Mok Chansopheap, a member of the provincial election commission, said that overall, the election went smoothly but acknowledged that there were some disturbances, including arguments between political party representatives and election officials at polling stations.
“Overall, the vote went smoothly, but there were some arguments between political parties and election officials when the ballots began to be counted,” he said, noting part of the problem was party reps criticising the way ballots had been marked.
Mr Chansopeap noted that his office would welcome any complaints over irregularities, the deadline for which is 11.30am today.
Preliminary results from the National Election Committee showed that 565,044 people registered to vote in Battambang, with 75.14 percent of them turning out to vote.
Nationwide, more than 6.8 million people cast ballots, representing 82.17 percent of the 8.3 million registered to vote. In 2013, voter turnout was about 69 percent, with 6.6 million valid ballots cast.