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Comfrel denies links to anti-government plot

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Comfrel members attend a press conference. KT/Mai Vireak

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia has denied accusations that its election activities were connected to attempts to foment a popular uprising or “colour revolution”.

The denial followed the publication of a video on Monday of last week by the Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit.

The video asked if a revolution would happen in Cambodia based on examples from other countries.

It connected Comfrel’s election observations with attempts to spark a colour revolution, and linked Comfrel’s activities to those of opposition parties.

On Friday, Comfrel said it could not accept the allegations and was disappointed they had been made.

“Comfrel confirms again that it is a non-government organisation and does not serve any political party,” it said.

The organisation said it had been observing elections since 1998 and all its activities were recognised officially by the National Election Committee (NEC).

In the national election of 2013, Comfrel found the risk of using the black ink and questioned if it could be cleaned off fingers.

Comfrel also found irregularities in the voting list and provided recommendations to the NEC to find ways to prevent the danger.

In this year’s commune elections the new NEC issued measures to prevent the ink being cleaned off.

Comfrel urged the Press and Quick Reaction Unit to stop connecting legal election activities with colour revolution activities.

Tith Sothea, spokesman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said that before the 2013 election, Comfrel said the ink could be cleaned off when it could not.

This had the purpose of dismissing the election. At the same time, the opposition party said it would not take part in the election if the ink could be cleaned off.

“All these actions poisoned the atmosphere of the election,” Mr Sothea said. “We still have Comfrel poisoning the elections. Its activity is connected with the opposition party.”

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the NEC considered all ideas but did not recognise illegal activities.

“Comfrel is under the Ministry of Interior law, so only the Interior Ministry can evaluate its activity,” Mr Puthea said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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