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Four parties plan to request meetings on election reforms

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Representatives of the four political parties on August 15 discuss plans to submit petitions to the National Assembly (NA), National Election Committee (NEC) and Ministry of Interior. GDP

Four parties plan to request meetings on election reforms

Four political parties are planning to request meetings with the National Assembly (NA), National Election Committee (NEC) and the Ministry of Interior this week to submit “important” documents to them while urging revisions to the electoral system, a move they said must be made to improve political freedom in Cambodia.

The four parties – Candlelight, Grassroots Democratic (GDP), Khmer Will (KWP) and Cambodian Reform (CRP) – have recently begun working together on initiatives like this one.

KWP president Kong Monika told The Post on August 16 that the four parties had held a meeting to discuss the documents and related issues. However, he said they have yet to decide when to submit the requests.

He said the documents include those related to the roles and duties of the national institutions and are intended to help improve the electoral system in Cambodia. The parties expected that the institutions in question would respond positively to their requests.

“Whether each of these national institutions will accept our requests or not, we expect to first have a chance to discuss things with them and show them our ideas and recommendations and explain to them why we’re making these requests. I think it is a good idea to have direct meeting and explain the reasoning,” he said.

Monika hinted that the meeting, if possible, would also discuss some court cases related to election issues, such as that of CP’s vice-president Son Chhay, who has been sued by the NEC and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for defamation regarding comments he made in an interview wherein he alleged irregularities during the June 5 commune council elections.

NA spokesman Leng Peng Long told The Post that he was not aware of the request for a meeting or which NA commission the four parties wished to meet.

“The National Assembly has 125 members, so who do they want to meet? I doubt that there’s any procedure available so that they can meet all of them at once, but if they want to meet a specific expert commission, we can arrange that,” Peng Long said.

He also noted that if they wanted to meet with NA president Heng Samrin, that may not be possible due to his tight schedule.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida said procedures regarding the administration and management of all elections are already stipulated in the Constitution and must be followed.

He said the Law on Elections is the legal basis that guides the electoral process and all of the elections organised in the past had followed that law.

Sorida said the NEC will look at the requests and make a decision as to whether a meeting would be productive, but any requests made to reform the election process must be done in line with the laws.

“The NEC cannot revise the election process in a manner that is decoupled from the laws, but we welcome all suggestions for improvements,” he said.

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