The National Election Committee (NEC) yesterday ended its two-day review of the June 4 commune elections with a spokesman saying that many of the recommendations made during the Sihanoukville getaway would be considered ahead of the upcoming voter registration process for the 2018 national election.
The meeting was closed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who praised the new NEC for its implementation of reforms after the disputed 2013 national election.
“The commune elections on June 4 received praise from national and international institutions, and the Cambodian government has played an important role in promoting free and fair elections,” Kheng said.
The new NEC was widely praised for its improvements on June 4, although certain groups – such as the Asian Network for Free Elections and the local “Situation Room” electoral monitoring coalition, which was later slammed by the prime minister – said some areas still needed improvement.
Among their suggestions were changes to the voter registration process to enable the enrolment of Cambodia’s more than 1 million migrant workers abroad, and a less volatile political environment in the run-up to the elections, two issues they said made the June 4 elections not completely free and fair.
However, NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said elections officials had over the two-day meet primarily requested better internet services, and that representatives of Situation Room groups Comfrel and Nicfec had suggested adding photographs to the slips used to enter voting booths to prevent fraud.
“The NEC will also educate people and election officials better to make sure that when people tick on the ballot they tick correctly and will ease the counting process,” Puthea added.
Korn Savang, an election monitoring official at Comfrel, said suggestions were also made for the NEC to improve the transfer of results from the commune elections committee to the NEC to avoid the political parties releasing their collated election results days before the official preliminary results come out.
“The NEC should make sure the data from the CECs is sent to the NEC faster than political party agents to avoid confusion,” Savang said.