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Election monitoring groups call for reform

Election monitoring groups call for reform

The two main election monitoring groups in the country are urging the National Election Committee to act on two key recommendations before the countrywide polls open in July.

For starters, the NEC should immediately post voting lists in villages, and anyone who is unable to find their name should be allowed to apply for an Identification Certificate for Election. The same recommendation asks for monitors to be placed at the polls to check identification data.

Their presence, the groups contend, would ensure the accuracy of the process, and act as a stopgap against election fraud through the use of falsified documents.

The second recommendation suggests the establishment of an ad hoc commission, drawn from all political parties contesting the election, to monitor polling stations.

Both ideas came from the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, and the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.

The two civil society groups held a press conference yesterday, banding together to send a united message to the NEC, whose lack of a response to recent rallies and statements demanding improvements to the voter’s list has prompted fears that the upcoming election will be one of the most unfair in recent memory.

“We make these requests for our nation. We do not do this for power,” Pung Chiv Kek, chairwoman of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections and president of rights group
Licadho, said yesterday.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the NEC appoints commune election and polling station officers, and that most of them are plucked from support groups of the Cambodian People’s Party.

In a statement, the two election monitoring groups also said that the exclusion of Cambodian National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy, who is living in self-exile to avoid multiple court convictions related to political disputes, is problematic.

NEC under secretary general Sokolak Tipor said positions in the commune and polling offices were not made on the basis of political affiliations.