Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NEC Announces Political Parties for Registration

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The National Election Committee (NEC) has commanded all political parties to register for City, Municipality, District and Khans Elections, starting on February 26. Deadlines for registration will be March 2, 2009. This announcement was made by Tep Nytha, NEC Secretary General, who emphasized the importance of making sure that all registration details had been covered by the start of March. He was speaking to reporters during a press conference in his office on February 3.

The Secretary General said that all political parties officially registered with the Ministry of Interior who seek participation in the Council Elections 2009 can prepare their candidates’ names for registration from February 26.

“These will be the first council elections ever held in Cambodia,” he said. “The main purpose of the Council Elections is to select new political representatives and council members to work in municipalities, provinces, districts or Khans throughout the kingdom,” he added.

According to Nytha, this election is non-universal and that the 11,353 members of the 1,621 Communes and Sangkat offices are the voters. The election will take place on Sunday, May 17, 2009 in cities and provinces across the country.

The Secretary General said the Council Election will be conducted in a free, fair and credible manner, with monitoring by election observers from national and international monitoring organizations. The NEC has requested US $1.5 million out of the national budget in preparation for the election.

According to an NEC report, there are 11,353 members representing the 1, 621 Communes and Sangkat offices. Of these, 7, 993 voters are from the Cambodian Peoples’ Party; 2,660 voters tie their colors to the Sam Rainsy Party; and 425 voters support the Norodom Ranariddh Party.

Hang Puthea, Executive Director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), said that to prepare for the Council Election 2009, his organization plans to employ a total of 185 observers across the country.

“In order to ensure free and fair Council Elections, NICFEC will send observers to each polling station located in cities and provinces throughout the country,” he said.

During the general election in 2007 and 2008, NICFEC used 7,000 national observers and 100 international observers, according to Puthea.

“So far, the NEC has been involved in many electoral success stories - organizing the elections for the National Assembly, the Senate and the Commune Councils in Cambodia,” he said. “I hope that through its work, preparation and organizational experience, the NEC will turn the Council Elections 2009 into a further success,” he told the Cambodia Weekly.

Up to now, the NEC has organized a total of six important elections in Cambodia; there have been three elections to the National Assembly, two elections to the Commune Council and one Senate election.

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