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Voters Concerned Over Sluggish Election Results Announcement

Hang Puthea, the spokesperson of NEC, gives an interview to VOA Khmer in NEC headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 06, 2017. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, on Tuesday apologized for the delay in an interview with VOA on Tuesday.

Cambodians have criticized the national election body for delaying the release of results in the aftermath of the commune elections on Sunday.

The National Election Committee (NEC) was scheduled to begin publishing official results as early as 3pm on the day of the vote, but had not released the results by Wednesday evening, prompting questions from voters.

Phrom Sothy, 63, a tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh, claimed there was no reason for a delay as the NEC “knew the results already.”

He suggested that the body should have released results province-by-province as they came in, rather than waiting for a nationwide result.

Other voters agreed and said they did not believe that the NEC had suffered from Internet connectivity problems as it had claimed.

One voter, Man Samorn, remarked: “The response was just an excuse. I have wondered for several mandates, why does the NEC always announce the result in rural areas first?”

Ouk Sovann Kongkea, a student at the Royal University of Agriculture, said the NEC, ostensibly an independent body, had no excuses not to be prepared.

“The election only happens once in five years,” she said. “They cannot say they are unprepared.”

However, some voters said they believed the delays were due to the NEC seeking to ensure the accuracy of the ballot.

Om Ramorn, 77, said the time-consuming process would ensure the accuracy of the result.

“In the past, the result was announced on the radio... So now the NEC analyzes the result and then declares it. It is more accurate than before,” he said.

An official result is due to be announced on June 25.

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, on Tuesday apologized for the delay in an interview with VOA on Tuesday.

Yoeung Sotheara, a legal observer with election monitor Comfrel, urged voters not to be concerned with the accuracy of the results.

“Due to a technical error and a lack of training of NEC officials, errors occurred,” he said.