The National Election Committee (NEC) said it was set to hold a council election for the newly established Bokor town in Kampot province, though no date has been set.

In a press relased dated February 2, NEC said the law requires that an election be held for any newly created provincial, municipal, district or commune council.

The election must be held no later than 240 days after the new governing entity is established.

Bokor town was established through a sub-decree on March 16. Its creation required the communes of Boeung Touk, Koh Touch and Prek Tnort be split from Teuk Chhou district and reassigned to the new town.

NEC deputy secretary-general Som Soryda said on April 5 that by law the date of council elections for Bokor town shall be set by the prime minister at the request of the interior minister.

The election, he said, will be held only for Bokor town and all political parties that are registered with the Ministry of Interior have the right to run candidates in the election. But he noted that the only eligible voters would be the commune and district councilors.

“In Bokor town, there are three communes and the councilors in these communes are the constituents for the council election. Each political party certaintly knows whether they have seats or not in these communes,” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said that currently all of its resources were tied up in the fight against Covid-19, but when the situation improves the election can be scheduled.

“We have to be realistic about the situation today. Perhaps we should consider a new way to vote such as conducting [elections] online. But it really depends on what NEC decides on this issue,” he said.

Korn Savang, observation and advocacy coordinator for election watchdog COMFREL, said all elections must be contested by political parties no matter the office. He added that whatever the solution is must be aligned with the principles of democracy.