The National Election Committee’s newly minted press reaction team responded yesterday to the European Union’s decision to cut funding for the 2018 election, claiming it was unfair to judge the elections before they took place.
“The NEC will maintain two goals which were implemented in 2017: Cambodians having proper names registered on the voter list, and freedom of expression via properly counted votes,” the statement reads.
The EU made the decision to pull its funding, with about $1 million outstanding, earlier this week after the Cambodian National Rescue Party was dissolved last month.
“An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded cannot be seen as legitimate,” reads an EU statement released on Tuesday.
The NEC dismissed this, however, saying that it was too early to come to any conclusion about the elections.
“What reasons can be used to evaluate the NEC that the 2018 election is not free and fair?” the statement asks, noting that the EU had previously praised the handling of commune elections held in June.
The newly created press reaction team of the nominally neutral body was specifically created to “attack back at negative” news, and is stacked with members loyal to the ruling party.
Updates to follow.