Cambodian NGOs Call for Election Committee Selected By Neutral Body

Cambodian NGOs Call for Election Committee Selected By Neutral Body

Op-Ed: RFA
2013-12-13

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NGO representatives outline a report on election irregularities at a press conference in Phnom Penh, Nov. 27, 2013.

 RFA

Cambodia’s National Election Committee (NEC), which oversees the country’s polls, should be revamped with representatives picked by an independent panel in a transparent manner with the involvement of all stakeholders, a group of non-governmental organizations said in a report after investigating the latest disputed elections.

The Election Reform Alliance (ERA), consisting of eight nongovernmental organizations, said in the report that election reform must begin with the government-appointed NEC, which officially declared Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) the victor in the July 28 polls despite opposition allegations of fraud and other irregularities.

“The National Election Committee should be dismantled and a new, independent, and constitutionally-mandated election commission should be created with the authority, comprehensive jurisdiction, and budget to operate effectively,” the report said.

“Commissioners of this new body must be selected in a transparent manner with the involvement of all stakeholders,” it said. “Local electoral officials must also be recruited publicly by a selection committee composed of NEC and political party representatives.”

The ERA said that in light of the disputed election, which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) maintains was stolen from it due to poll fraud, “mechanisms to resolve election conflicts and complaints must be reformed.”

It recommended the creation of a separate body, such as a special electoral prosecutor, special electoral court, inspector general or ombudsman, to investigate irregularities.

The CNRP had said that more than 1 million names had been removed from voter registries in July’s polls.

The ERA cited findings by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel)—which along with other groups such as ADHOC, Licadho and NICFEC released the report—putting the number of missing names at 1.25 million.

NICFEC and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), another contributor, said that nearly 20 percent of names on the voter registration were invalid, either because they had permanently moved to another location, were deceased, or were unknown to members of the community.

The ERA also revealed instances of duplicate names, over-registration in certain districts and the use of invalid ballots during the election.

Undue influence

Rights groups and the opposition have long held that the NEC heavily favors the ruling party, pointing out that the commission’s headquarters are even based inside the Ministry of the Interior’s compound.

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Press Release on The Process of the Electoral Reform

Press Release on The Process of the Electoral Reform

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 12:06

Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA) would like to express its disappointment of with the meeting of the joint commission of the two political parties on the 10 of March 2014 which reached (substantial) result.

The joint commission must prepare an action plan for the electoral reform with clear timelines.

The joint commission must establish specific technical sub commissions to commence working on the agreed-upon election reform areas:

1.    National Election Committee
2.    Voter registration and voter list
3.    Media
4.    Electoral dispute resolution
5.    Enactment of law on political finance

The joint commission must meet more often in order to show genuine commitment to solve the problems of national interests.

The joint commission must focus on electoral reform areas that were agreed upon by the two parties.

For more information:
1.    Mr. Ny Chakrya        Head of monitoring section of ADHOC  011 27 49 59
2.    Mrs. Ros Sopheap     Executive Director of GADC         012 62 78 57
3.    Mr. Preab Kol        Executive Director of TIC        012 877 833
4.    Mr. Hang Puthea         Executive Director of NICFEC    012 95 96 66
5.    Mr. Yang Kim Eng     President of PDP-Center         016 82 82 11
6.    Mr. Koul Panha         Executive Director of COMFREL     012 94 20 17
7.    Mr. Sok Pitour        President of YCC            017 27 33 03
8.    Mr. Kean Ponlork        Vice President of DHRAC         012 55 14 66
9.    Mr. Hong Kimsuon    Chairman of CISA            012 94 55 05
10.    Mr. Pa Ngoun Teang    Executive Director of CCIM         060 40 99 99
11.    Mr. Yeng Virak         Executive Director of CLEC         012 80 12 35

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