Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition, NEC talk over election concerns

Opposition, NEC talk over election concerns

Opposition, NEC talk over election concerns

The National Election Committee sat down with representatives of the opposition and the ruling party yesterday to discuss the latest batch of recommendations by civil society and the opposition for improving procedure in the upcoming national elections.

Koul Panha, executive director of the free-election NGO COMFREL, told the press after yesterday’s meeting only two of 16 points — including placing more opposition members on provincial and commune election committees and allowing the opposition to campaign in public markets — had been addressed, but talks would continue on the wish list of reforms intended to bolster the neutrality of the NEC.

“The participation of [opposition] parties during recruitment and monitoring of the selection of officials for the [provincial and commune election committees] would help to reduce partisanship, such as members in one family [the CPP] filling the local election bodies,” Panha said, noting that the reforms would increase confidence in the institution.

COMFREL’s recommendations also include calls for the NEC to remove restrictions on eligibility to serve on the committees, making it easier for outsiders to apply, as well as perennial demands such as greater transparency on election day, and barring civil servants and the military from campaigning.

NEC secretary general Tep Nytha confirmed the content of the discussions but stressed that no agreement had been reached yet.

Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay said that even though the opposition’s attempts to change the NEC “from the top down” had proved unsuccessful, participating at the provincial and commune level would have a greater impact than simply acting as outside observers.

“The CPP has been using the election commission at local level to co-operate with CPP provincial leaders to cheat the system,” he said.

“By having a mixture between the parties that would be officially matriculated in the system instead of outside the system... [they] would be able to legally have some oversight and recognise what is not proper conduct.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected] and Stuart White at [email protected]


  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Endangered animals found dead in Pailin

    An endangered gaur was one of “many” wild animals found dead in “dozens” of illegal traps in Pailin province’s Phnom Khieu Wildlife Sanctuary, said Chit Thy, a military officer working with rangers to protect the conservation area, on Wednesday. Thy, an officer in the 507