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NEC member warns of delays

As the National Election Commission makes preparations ahead of the 2017 elections, a member has aired worry that necessary test drives for a new, computerised voter registration system may be delayed due to unsecured funding.

The European Union is slated to spend $11.3 million over the next three years to help with the Kingdom’s elections, and Japan is assisting in digitising voter lists.

But NEC member Hang Puthea yesterday expressed concern that the sluggish pace of getting memorandums of understanding in place may push back crucial test trials ahead of the elections.

“We plan to have tests in September or in early October, but until now, we don’t have any production or any money in our hands,” Puthea said. “We recommend both [the EU and Japan] quickly decide on this.”

Puthea added that once the agreements are firmly in place, the government could more accurately devise a “master plan” for the election and determine how much funds are needed.

Meanwhile, Koul Panha, executive director of election monitor Comfrel, said 2,400 computers were required, along with registration kits, generators, printers, scanners and other materials for the elections.

“The government needs to prepare a budget as soon as possible,” he said. “Donors like Japan and the EU will cover some of the costs, but the main source should come from the government.”

Meanwhile, Fiona Ramsey, EU charge d’affaires in Cambodia, said the EU will support the country in 2016.

“This timeframe is not due to any disagreements with NEC, but due to the normal length of decision-making procedures within the EU,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

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