Civil-society groups and political parties yesterday examined proposed rules for the national elections in July and made recommendations on how to make the process more equitable.
But the absence of representatives from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party made some people in attendance feel their efforts could prove futile.
“We are really concerned the result of our discussion will be rejected by the National Election Committee (NEC) when it sees that the recommendation is raised only by opposition parties,” Puthea Hang, president of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said.
One of the central proposals was that civil servants, who were active in campaigning for the CPP in last year’s commune elections, be banned from doing the same thing in July.
Those who engaged in the practice last year said they did it in their own time.
Eng Chhay Eang, a representative of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, said civil servants were prohibited by law from engaging in campaigning.
“We correct the point that civil servants, monks, armed forces, police, court officials can participate in the campaign for any parties, despite being on holiday,” he said.
“They should [only] be allowed to listen to political statements and support statements without displaying political campaign signs.”
Other topics included election monitoring, vote counting and procedures for reviewing election complaints.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, whose office hosted the gathering, said the recommendations would be sent to the NEC before January 23.
NEC general secretary Tep Nytha told the Post his experts would then discuss the recommendations.
To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at firstname.lastname@example.org