In the lead-up to the June 5 commune council elections, the National Election Committee (NEC) is conducting a three-day training seminar from February 7-9 on how to register party candidates.

According to the NEC’s press release on February 7, a total of 175 people attended, including election officials from the capital and provinces, representatives of political parties and NGOs.

NEC deputy secretary-general Mok Dara said the process of administering an election could be divided into four main stages. The first, already completed, is the registration of voters and issuance of voter lists.

The second stage is to register candidates from those parties that had registered with the Ministry of Interior.

The third, and among the most complex, is the monitoring of election campaigns. Provided that election officials, NEC secretariats and party representatives had clear knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding campaigning, it should run smoothly, he said.

The fourth stage is ballot counting and the tallying of results.

“Recently, the NEC introduced new software to that would manage registrations, identify voters and verify election results,” he was quoted in the press release.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida told The Post on February 8 that the main goal of the training was to show all parties concerned – including experienced election officials – the new programmes used in the election process.

He said this modernisation concerned the use of information technology to assist and support the process, as the NEC would register political party candidates using a computer. The training was for registration officials, candidates standing for the election and political parties preparing their lists of candidates.

“This training course is important. Political parties have two options in preparing their lists. They can prepare the list of the candidates by hand as was done before. They also have the option of employing the new software offered by the NEC,” he added.

He said that during the course, the trainers would teach the general principles of entering a list of candidates using the software.

Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) spokesman Loek Sothea told The Post on February 8 that GDP had sent officials to the training. However, he declined to comment on the training because it had not yet concluded and he not yet received a report from the party members who joined.

Sam Sokuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, had requested invitations for officials from his organisation to attend, but had not sent any owing to workforce shortages. He expected that his team would attend later training sessions, as the registering of candidates was not problematic.

NEC president Prach Chan officially launched the use of the new programmes on January 31.