Thousands of excess Senate ballots printed

NEC official Dim Sovannarom (second right) inspects ballots for the upcoming Senate elections yesterday.
NEC official Dim Sovannarom (second right) inspects ballots for the upcoming Senate elections yesterday. Heng Chivoan

The National Election Committee (NEC) yesterday announced plans to distribute 25,950 ballots for the upcoming Senate election this month, more than double the amount of eligible voters.

NEC spokesman Dim Sovannarom said the NEC had spent nearly $20,000 to print the ballots. He said there were 5,300 extra ballots in case of damage, and 1,250 sample ballots. Even with those 6,550 ballots excluded, there are still around 7,700 ballots more than voters. Voting in the Senate election is restricted to commune councillors and National Assembly members.

Following the forced dissolution of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s only viable electoral competitor, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, both the communes and Assembly are dominated by the CPP.

With 11,510 representatives in the country’s commune councils, the CPP’s nearest competitor is Funcinpec, with 28. It is mathematically impossible for any party other than CPP to win a single Senate seat, unless CPP representatives abstain or vote against their own party in mass.

Pich Sros, president of the minor Cambodian Youth Party – which filed the initial complaint to dissolve the CNRP – said his party is more focused on using this election to build capacity for the national elections in July.

“We will strengthen further monitoring of the process of this election,” he said yesterday.

Yoeurng Sotheara, of election watchdog Comfrel, said he was not concerned by the extra ballots, and that his organisation wouldn’t monitor the election because the results are predetermined.