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EU to send election 'experts' to help NEC

THE National Election Committee and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday allowing for an exchange of expertise in the area of elections.

Rafael Dochao Moreno, charge d'affaires of the EC, said at the meeting that the European Union will provide two experts - Alexandre Castanias from Greece and Eric Des Pallieres from France - to the NEC to help them make the election process free and fair.

"They will both provide technical skills on media communication and law to NEC staff, and we hope the NEC will improve elections in this country," he said.

Many local and international groups, including the EU, criticised the NEC after the 2008 election, saying it did not uphold international standards of democratic elections.

"But I think the NEC has made efforts to improve, and the election last year was better if compared to the national elections in 1998 and 2003," he said.

"We will work in close cooperation with the two EU experts to improve these sectors to make elections in Cambodia better," Im Suosdey, chairman of the NEC, told journalists after the meeting.

"Since 1998, the EU has donated funding and experts to NEC to help organise elections in Cambodia," he said.    

"For the Khet-Krong and Srok-Khan [provincial/city and district] elections this year, the EU have not donated to the budget, but they will send experts on media and law to help us," he said.  

"We have not donated to the NEC budget for this election because it is an indirect election," Rafael Dochao Moreno told journalists, refering to the fact that only party members will vote.  

The EU sent 130 observers to monitor last year's polls. 

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