Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC claims EU move to pull funding unfair



NEC claims EU move to pull funding unfair

Members of the National Election EU Ambassador George Edgar appears at an NEC event earlier this year. The NEC yesterday criticised the EU’s decision to pull funding following the dissolution of the CNRP.
Members of the National Election EU Ambassador George Edgar appears at an NEC event earlier this year. The NEC yesterday criticised the EU’s decision to pull funding following the dissolution of the CNRP. Hong Menea

NEC claims EU move to pull funding unfair

The National Election Committee’s newly minted press reaction team responded late on Wednesday 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 EU made the decision to pull its funding, with about $1 million outstanding, earlier this week after the Cambodia 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 new 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.

The NEC’s make-up has also changed after three CNRP-nominated members resigned in protest. One of their replacements has helped to run ruling party election campaigns in the past.

Sam Kuntheamy, director of election watchdog Nicfec, said civil society in general does not trust the NEC now that its composition has changed.

“The NEC members are from different political parties and civil society, but if you see the background, they worked in the government,” he said.

Furthermore, Kuntheamy said the NEC was less diligent during this year’s voter registration than they were last year, for example by failing to look into opposition party complaints, possibly because they expected it to be dissolved, he said.

George Edgar, EU ambassador to Cambodia, clarified that the decision to cut funding was based on the actions of the Cambodian government, not those of the NEC.

“As the Delegation’s press statement on 12 December made clear, the Commission’s decision to suspend assistance to the NEC was made in response to recent actions by the Cambodian authorities against the political opposition, in particular the dissolution of the CNRP,” he said via email yesterday.

“The Commission’s decision does not reflect on our experience of working with the NEC, which has been very positive. Nor does it represent any judgement on the performance of the NEC between now and the National Assembly [elections] next July.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian