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Election monitor Anfrel rejects allegations of election tampering

Anfrel representatives speak to the media after the 2017 commune elections. The election monitor has rejected claims made in local media that it was planning to influence and discredit the July national ballot.
Anfrel representatives speak to the media after the 2017 commune elections. The election monitor has rejected claims made in local media that it was planning to influence and discredit the July national ballot. Niem Chheng

Election monitor Anfrel rejects allegations of election tampering

Regional election monitor Anfrel on Tuesday rejected accusations made in two local media outlets that it is planning to discredit the upcoming July elections.

The election watchdog was reacting to a letter to the editor published on the site of government mouthpiece Fresh News and local outlet Swift News from a “Pol Peanrin” claiming that Anfrel Chairman Koul Panha was trying to disrupt the upcoming elections, with his selection to the Anfrel board a reward for having interfered in previous electoral processes. It was published in reaction to an interview on Radio Free Asia with Panha last weekend, where he questioned the legitimacy of the July ballot.

Anfrel said the article misrepresented the organisation and that claims it was participating in the election monitoring coalition “Situation Room” were inaccurate. “ANFREL is not aware of the existence of, or involved in any activities related to such ‘Situation Room’,” the statement reads. “ANFREL denies any involvement in plans to undermine the Cambodian Elections on behalf of itself, its Board, or any of its member organizations.”

The Situation Room was a grouping of around 30 local NGOs, led by election watchdog Comfrel, to monitor Cambodian elections. It was later criticised by the government for having identified irregularities.

Anfrel said it welcomed interview requests from the two online news outlets as it had not been approached for comment before publication.

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