With the parliamentary election just over two months away, the National Election Committee (NEC) has formally recognised over 15,000 domestic electoral observers from five local civil society organisations.

The NEC is continuing to examine the applications of a further 1,000 observers and “special guests”.

It said in a press release that as of May 13, it had formally recognised 15,169 domestic observers, who were drawn from the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC), the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL), the Cambodian Federation for Human Rights and Development (CFHRAD), Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) and the People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP-Centre).

It added that a further five organisations have submitted applications for 1,157 additional observers. The five include the UYFC branch in Pailin province, the Mett Yeung Association, the Organisation for Development and Protection of Natural Resources, the CWPD branch in Preah Sihanouk province and the Reachsey Association. In addition, two special guests from the Komar Chey association in France have applied.

Observer applications began on April 1, with domestic observers having to apply before a July 12 deadline. International observers have until July 19 to apply.

NEC spokesman Khorn Keomono said on May 14 that the participation of observers is very important to ensure that every step of the electoral process is conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.

“All observers must perform their roles in an independent, neutral and impartial manner,” he added.

COMFREL observer Korn Savang said his organisation has deployed observers to almost all stages of every one of the Kingdom’s elections, and would aim to do so this year.

“We intend to place observers in the capital and all 24 provinces, but I cannot provide a precise number yet – it depends on individual participation,” he added.

He explained that the COMFREL sought to monitor as many polling stations as possible.