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NEC to destroy old ballots

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More than 21 million ballots and other documents used in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017 elections will be destroyed. Hong Menea

NEC to destroy old ballots

The National Election Committee (NEC) will hold a ceremony on Wednesday to destroy more than 21 million ballots and other documents used in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017 elections.

The NEC called on observers from political parties and civil society organisations to witness the ceremony.

A notice issued by NEC said it has the competence, authority and duty to destroy ballots used in national elections during each mandate after they have been stored safely for six years.

The NEC said the ballots used for commune and district council elections during each mandate are destroyed after they have been stored for three years.

An NEC press release said: “The NEC will implement the law on June 24 at 8:30am and hold a ceremony to destroy used ballots in the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017 elections.

“Some old documents will also be destroyed. The ceremony will take place in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.”

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea told The Post on Sunday that this will be the fourth time the NEC has destroyed ballots since it started holding elections in 1998.

The items being destroyed include 20,000 ballots from 2012, 12 million ballots from 2013, more than 20,000 ballots from 2014 and more than nine million ballots from 2017.

Puthea said the NEC will also destroy other documents they have held for 10 years.

The NEC announced it had invited political party representatives, national and international observers and international and national media and reporters to witness the event.

“If the NEC doesn’t destroy the ballots, it means that it isn’t following the law because it is our role to destroy them. It is difficult to find a location to store these documents.

“We are doing it transparently because all parties are invited to witness it. They can see that the used ballots are in their authentic packages,” Puthea said.

Cambodian Nationality Party (CNP) president Seng Sokheng told The Post on Sunday that the destruction of the ballots and documents had no apparent irregularities because the NEC turned it into a public event.

Sokheng said: “During the elections, all parties agreed to accept [the results] with each representative joining in the elections. So, my thinking is that this destruction doesn’t seem controversial.”

Advocacy coordinator of The Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) Korn Savang said on Sunday that according to Cambodian election laws, the destruction of the ballots was undoubtedly justified.

But he requested the NEC to store the documents and ballots for younger generations.

“Even though the documents will be destroyed, the NEC should store the information contained in them regarding election results in both offices and villages Savang said:

He said the documents should be stored on social media, websites or any NEC data system.

However, Savang also said Comfrel would send observers to the ceremony to ensure the NEC followed the correct procedures.

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