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Parties yet to agree on part of NEC draft law

Parties yet to agree on part of NEC draft law

Hopes that the ruling and opposition parties would finally reach full accord on a new National Election Committee draft law were dashed yesterday as talks foundered on the qualifications the secretary-general of the new institution must possess.

After a meeting that lasted more than two hours, Cambodian People’s Party working group chief Bin Chhin and his Cambodia National Rescue Party counterpart Kuoy Bunroeun said the parties had reached “90 per cent” agreement.

“But regarding the secretary-general and deputy secretaries-general [of the NEC], we have disagreed on the qualifications [they should have],” Chhin said.

The CPP wants to disallow candidates who have no election management experience and possess any citizenship other than Khmer. It also wants candidates to be at least 30 years old and hold a university degree in a specific field, such as law, diplomacy or economics.

The CNRP, on the other hand, wants an age limit of 25, no subject requirement for the university degree, no requirement that the candidate have election experience and for dual citizens to be considered.

“I want to have stability after the next election and no crises like in previous elections, that’s why we need to talk further details,” Bunroeun said.

“But there is no real problem because we have many formulas to choose from.”

Separately, a Japanese government team is to arrive today to follow up on a survey conducted in May about election reform needs in Cambodia. The team will present its findings to the CPP-CNRP working group during the visit.

Hun Sen officially asked Japan for electoral reform assistance last November as the opposition raged over poll irregularities.

The NEC has also finished its annual 20-day voter registration period. According to current secretary-general Tep Nytha, 148,592 new voters were registered and 59,656 names were deleted.

But election reform groups have criticised the recent registration blitz as a waste of time and money given that the new NEC will likely have to repeat the process under the new law.

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