Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NEC chief still firmly in place



NEC chief still firmly in place

Tep Nytha (centre), secretary general of the National Election Committee, talks to the media during a press conference last year in Phnom Penh.
Tep Nytha (centre), secretary general of the National Election Committee, talks to the media during a press conference last year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

NEC chief still firmly in place

The National Election Committee has no plan to replace its secretary general, Tep Nytha, despite a pledge after the revamped body’s approval earlier this year to name someone new to the post within three months.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea, who in June said the body would reshuffle within three months and select a new official to run its secretariat, yesterday told the Post the bipartisan group had yet to discuss replacing Nytha, head administrator of the NEC’s former iteration, which was often criticised for being pro-ruling party.

“We will have [these talks] in the future; until now, the NEC has not had plans to discuss this,” Puthea said.

Puthea said the committee had been busy pushing reforms, including digitising voter lists, a trial for which has been pushed back to November following problems with funding.

A restructuring of the body, however, is currently being undertaken, following the approval of two sub-decrees last month, allowing it to form a new administration to help organise the 2017 and 2018 local and national elections, Puthea said.

He said the NEC’s 318 staff, including Nytha, would be reviewed to see whether they had any “problems” with following the new committee and Election Law, two of the main compromises exacted by the Cambodian National Rescue Party to end their boycott of parliament following the disputed 2013 elections.

“If any of our staff has done something that is not by the law, then the NEC will talk about this,” he said.

Nytha started as chief of cabinet for the NEC secretary general in 1998, before moving to his current role in 2002.

He was previously deputy director of propaganda and education for the Youth Association of Cambodia, the ruling party’s youth wing.

Yesterday, he declined to comment on his NEC tenure.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the CNRP, which has called for Nytha’s swift removal, said change was needed to restore trust in the NEC.

He said the party would consider how to press the issue when president Sam Rainsy returned from abroad.

Independent commentator Ou Virak said keeping Nytha in place appeared a power play by the CPP.

As the opposition is pushing for change, extending Nytha’s tenure could help pressure the CNRP into a more-agreeable candidate for the ruling party, he said.

“Time is on [the CPP’s] side,” he added.

Koul Panha, head of election watchdog Comfrel, said replacing Nytha would help usher in a stronger push for reform, particularly with access to government funds.

He said the current secretariat was stuck with “old practices” and weren’t pushing hard enough for budget autonomy, guaranteed by the new Election Law.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Capital set to beef up security

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng held the first meeting of the year with heads of armed forces in the capital to review and repair the deficiencies related to gun control, drug crimes, social order disruptions due to alcohol consumption and traffic law enforcement. Municipal