The National Election Committee (NEC) held a meeting to explain the changes in election rules and procedures to three political parties that were demanding that the electoral body keep them unchanged from the previous elections.
The meeting was held on January 14 between NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha and representatives from the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP), Kampucheaniyum Party (KP) and Cambodia Reform Party (CRP) along with a representative from the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL).
The three parties were demanding that the NEC keep the rules in place regarding the election result reports called Form 1102. They said the NEC should provide the form for recording the election results to the agents of all political parties present at polling stations on the day of the election.
Nytha said that he explained to them that Form 1102 will be posted at each polling station for the public to see and each political party agent will receive a digitally scanned version from the commune election commission.
He said that in the past, Form 1102 was filled out by hand by election officials and given to each political party’s agent directly at polling stations on the day of the election.
“In previous elections, our officials at polling stations had to produce many copies of the election results by hand to give to the agents of political parties present.
Moreover, on election day our officials would worked more than 12 hours, to exhaustion, and this could have ultimately resulted in mistakes in the hand-written copies,” Nytha said in a statement.
He noted that after the government provided funding for the NEC to purchase computers they decided to change the rules and procedures by no longer making copies of Form 1102 by hand and instead using scanners to make digital copies of the master document as it could prevent errors and save time and effort.
He added that in the past, some political parties took photos of erroneous hand-written copies of the results and posted them on social media to mislead the public.
“All of these factors led NEC to change the rules to ensure accurate and transparent election results and to make the election go smoothly,” he said.
However, NEC said the three political parties still have not agreed to the changes and continue to demand that the NEC provide them with hand-written Form 1102s.
“The three political parties thanked NEC for the opportunity to discuss the matter, but they still insisted on their demands even after NEC explained the reasons for the changes,” the NEC statement said.
GDP spokesman Loek Sothea told The Post on January 16 that the three parties and Comfrel still do not accept these rules changes as valid.
“We cannot accept it, although the NEC explained that it was just for technical reasons. The changing of this rule could affect the results of the election and damage the trust of the participating political parties,” he said.