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Number of international observers poised to hit record: NEC

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The National Election Committee holds a press conference in the capital. Heng Chivoan

Number of international observers poised to hit record: NEC

A National Election Committee (NEC) official on Monday said the number of international observers signed up to monitor the July 29 polls is steadily increasing.

NEC member and spokesman Hang Puthea told The Post that 155 international observers have been officially approved, while another 115 are under review. They hail from 45 countries, he said.

The NEC said registration for international observers began on April 23 and will expire on Wednesday at 5:30pm.

International observers are required to send a written report of their conclusions to the NEC after the election process is completed.

According to the NEC’s primary monitor profile, most observers are from China and Indonesia, and international organisations.

Other countries sending representatives are Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Pakistan, East Timor, the Philippines, Brunei and Thailand.

Reflecting on the number of countries who sent monitors for the 2013 elections but declined to do so this time around, Puthea said: “The NEC values the prestigious guests who observe our elections.

“Whether they recognise [the results] or not, those countries are not the ones that take responsibility for the people’s livelihoods. People themselves need to decide who to vote for,” he said.

Puthea also said he expected the number of international observers to increase to above 300.

In the 2013 election, there were 266 international observers in total. They came from 37 organisations and embassies, and were made up of monitors from the US, Australia, Korea and Sweden.

However, the leader of the opposition Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) mourned the fact that two major election watchdogs – Comfrel and Nicfec – were not taking part.

“I am disappointed by the absence of civil society organisations such as Comfrel, Nicfec and Transparency International Cambodia,” said the party’s secretary-general and spokesman Sam Inn.

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