Australian ambassador Justin Whyatt on May 5 met with National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Prach Chan to discuss preparations for the July 23 national elections.

During the meeting, Whyatt recounted his mission to Cambodia between 2002 and 2003 to observe the commune council and general elections.

Whyatt commended the NEC’s handling of preparatory work for the elections, which he stressed must be neutral and impartial, and inspire confidence among voters, the committee noted in a statement.

The ambassador highlighted the importance of not just the day of democratic elections, but also a certain period before and after the vote.

He affirmed that Australia will not sent election observers, but assured that Canberra will support local monitors.

Chan thanked Australia for a prior $1 million contribution to Cambodia for election works, recounting to the ambassador that the Kingdom has held 18 elections since 1993, which the NEC head claimed have all been “accepted as fair, just and transparent”.

He told Whyatt that legitimate political parties registered at the interior ministry have “full rights” to register for the elections, as long as they follow the associated rules, terms, and procedures.

The NEC will again invite international observers to monitor the elections, and foreign embassies will be invited to observe the vote as “special guests”.