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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - HRP demands NEC changes

HRP demands NEC changes

The human Rights Party yesterday attacked the fairness of the upcoming elections by demanding a change in the composition of the National Election Committee, which it said was biased, in an appeal to the international community.

“In order for the upcoming elections to proceed fairly and justly, it is necessary to demand that the NEC be independent by changing its present composition,” the HRP said in an appeal issued yesterday to the United Nations and donor countries.

“National and international observers should know that most of the NEC is composed of people from the ruling party and therefore it cannot be assured that they can complete their election work independently, neutrally and justly,” the statement continued.

The HRP also accused the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of using coercive tactics to obtain votes and of using state-owned property for campaign purposes.

“Particularly, [the CPP] must not use its power to threaten to arrest or convict someone who does not support the party,” the statement said.

Senior CPP lawmaker Cheap Yeap dismissed all allegations yesterday, saying that the NEC was composed of members from several political parties, and therefore fair.

He accused the HRP of “putting its leg in the water while others are paddling the boat”.

Cheap Yeap also said that the HRP should file a complaint if it had evidence of CPP lawmakers intimidating people for votes or using state property for campaign purposes.

The NEC is composed of nine lawmakers, NEC secretary general Tep Nytha told the Post yesterday.

While the lawmakers come from the CPP, the Sam Rainsy Party and the HRP, each must resign his party affiliation upon assuming a position on the NEC, he added.

Although the secretary general refused to say exactly how many NEC members were affiliated with the ruling CPP, Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that five of the nine NEC members were from the CPP, while two were from the SRP and two were from the HRP.

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