The EU Delegation to Cambodia on May 16 met with the National Election Committee (NEC) to discuss the Kingdom’s voting process and other technical aspects related to the commune council elections scheduled for June 5.

According to NEC spokesman Som Sorida, the meeting was led by NEC chairman Prach Chan and EU ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno.

Sorida told The Post after the meeting that Chan briefed the EU on the history of Cambodia’s elections, beginning in 1993 with the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), followed by the 1998 general election with the NEC in charge for the first time.

Chan informed the EU delegates that the NEC has successfully held both the national and commune elections 17 times and that NEC officials believed the election in Cambodia this year on would be better organised and run more smoothly than any previous elections.

He said that Chan made mention of the more than 9.2 million registered voters in Cambodia, equal to about 87.84 per cent of the eligible electorate, which he attributed to the hard work of the NEC and relevant institutions.

“[Chan] also made mention of the process of registering political parties and candidates. There are 17 political parties that the NEC recognises and that have registered candidates running for office in the [June 5] elections,” he said.

At the meeting, Chan emphasised that the biggest task that remained for the NEC for this year’s elections was to recruit and train human resources for the commune electoral commissions, saying that in the coming days the NEC will recruit more than 110,000 officials to work at 23,620 polling stations across the nation.

Ambassador Moreno asked Chan to further explain the process of recruitment of the electoral officials and what kind of human resources training they received.

She was also especially interested in the disqualification of candidate lists from some political parties and the process of recording and counting votes. Chan explained these issues fully to the EU delegation and answered all their questions in detail, according to Sorida.

She also asked the NEC to facilitate the presence of EU officials to observe the June 5 elections and then issue a report, but the NEC side that request, instead allowing them to observe the elections in a less formal role without issuing reports or evaluating the election process officially.

NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha briefed Moreno that the NEC’s policy was to invite them to monitor and observe the election as guests, but not as official election observers. Both sides agreed to hold another meeting on election-related issues prior to June 5 in order to strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the EU in this area.