The watchdog coalition Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA) yesterday voiced concern after the National Election Committee short-listed its incumbent secretary-general Tep Nytha as a candidate to hold the position, accusing the nine-member body of lacking transparency in its selection process.
Long accused of ruling party bias, Nytha, 61, is among three contenders for the job, along with Heng Monychenda, 56, and Ya Navuth, 43, both of whom hail from civil society.
Twenty-one people applied to be secretary-general before the December 26 deadline, while 84 went for the four deputy jobs. The successful applicants will be announced on January 15.
ERA spokesman Koul Panha argued that if Nytha was selected, the public recruitment process would be “meaningless”.
The NEC was made bipartisan last year, and the opposition has called for Nytha, a longtime ruling party apparatchik, to be removed.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said Nytha had the right to the job if selected. The final decision will be based on a consensus of nine members, or a secret ballot if consensus isn’t reached.