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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be