Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The NEC chides PEC on monitors

The NEC chides PEC on monitors

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A coalition of NGOs met to discuss about monitoring the political situation during the commune election period last year. Focebook

The NEC chides PEC on monitors

The National Election Committee (NEC) has rapped the Provincial Election Committee (PEC) for going against the Election Law to allow a polls watchdog to send volunteers to monitor the political situation during the election period.

But a Committee for Free and Fair Elections (Comfrel) official claimed that, after signing-up 300 volunteers, they were allowed to monitor the election as long as its staff did not step inside polling stations.

The NEC on Saturday sent a letter to the PEC on the deployment of Comfrel’s election monitors, saying it went against Article 10, Section 3.3 of Chapter 3 of the Election Law which covers election procedures.

Article 10 requires civil societies, NGOs, and associations to be registered before they can engage in election monitoring.

The NEC letter dated June 30 did not specify what action would be taken if Comfrel continued to send observers, but it said: “The NEC considers that such election monitoring is not allowed or acknowledged.”

Its spokesperson Hang Puthea confirmed on Sunday that the letter was sent to the PEC after Comfrel sent letters to the local body about deploying its election monitors, but did not send a similar letter to its national counterpart.

“Comfrel and other NGOs have to put in requests to the NEC. But a few days ago, Comfrel sent letters to the PEC instead. The PEC does not have the authority to allow it to monitor the election."

“The subsequent letter from the NEC was a reminder to all NGOs to respect the law because everything must be compliant with the law."

“If it doesn’t get permission and what it does violates the law and affects the election process, then the Election Law will be brought into action,” Puthea said.

In May, election watchdogs Comfrel and the Neutral And Impartial Committee For Free And Fair Elections decided not to join the election monitoring.

Their decision, they said, was made because of their inability to sign-up volunteers who feared being accused of taking part in a “colour revolution” or being a part of a “rebel” group.

Comfrel official Korng Savang said on Sunday that it had managed to enlist 300 volunteers who had already begun monitoring the political situation in 300 communes across the country and that it had informed the local authorities in their target areas.

He said such activities weren’t against the law as long as their monitors didn’t step inside actual voting stations but merely oversaw the overall situation from outside.

He said NGOs and civil societies can do this if they were officially registered with the Ministry of Interior and informed the relevant authorities before engaging in such monitoring, both of which Comfrel has done.

“On the general situation regarding the people, or related to the political situation, it is a normal activity not restricted to the election,” he said.

However, Puthea said Comfrel had also requested to interview people who intend to vote.

“Conducting such interviews ... it looks like they are doing a survey. According to the law, such surveys must end seven days before election day. If [Comfrel] were to conduct such activities between 28 June and 30 August then it would be contravening the law,” Puthea said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a