Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Independence of NEC crucial, watchdogs say

Independence of NEC crucial, watchdogs say

Independence of NEC crucial, watchdogs say

Two prominent members of watchdog group the Electoral Reform Alliance have warned that members of a revamped National Election Committee will have to be placed under tight restrictions to ensure that they do not act in a politically partisan manner.

Ou Virak, chairman at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, and Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said yesterday that they were deeply pessimistic that a new NEC made up almost exclusively of members from both parties could be independent.

A law regulating the institution – which will be made up of four members from each party and one supposedly neutral candidate – is expected to be passed by March.

The parties continue to disagree on whether the government should have to sign off on its administrative staff.

“If the secretariat and budget are not independent, this institution cannot be independent,” Virak said.

He added that other issues, such as voter lists being prepared by politically partisan commune councils and not the NEC, appeared unlikely to change.

Puthea said that NEC members should face stiff penalties if they advance a political agenda on the committee.

“This NEC is formed by both political parties so the members will be biased to his or her party,” he said.

Both analysts, however, admitted that despite its faults, the new NEC would be better than the old one.

Prum Sokha and Kuoy Bunroeun, election reform negotiators from the CPP and CNRP respectively, yesterday argued that the forced resignations of NEC members from political parties and a ban on political activities for two years after their terms would help to ensure independence.

They asked watchdogs to reserve their judgments until the new body is in place.

But some party insiders have implied that “independence” was never truly a goal.

“This [4-4-1] formula is not to create an independent NEC. You cannot be so foolish to say someone that is being nominated by a political party is not under the influence of that party,” CNRP deputy public affairs head Kem Monovithya said last month.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,

  • South Korea’s Moon arrives in Kingdom for state visit

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday at the start of a three-day state visit to Cambodia to strengthen ties and further the friendship between the two countries. After arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the

  • Youths band together to clean ‘filthy’ Boeung Trabek canal

    Inspired by their affection for the environment, a desire to have a clean and beautiful city, and wanting to send a message to people to stop littering, a group of some two dozen volunteer youths have taken to picking up trash day and night from