The new National Election Committee (NEC), a key pillar of last year’s political deal between the CPP and the CNRP, will formally assume its duties as the country’s election-organizing body this morning after almost nine months of negotiations and preparations.
Promised as part of the deal that ended the CNRP’s 10-month boycott of the National Assembly over its complaints that the 2013 election was rigged, both parties have advertised the new institution as a solution to any future post-election disputes.
The nine members of the new NEC, selected by both parties, were approved by parliament last week and were sworn into their positions on Saturday ahead of a ceremony this morning to transfer power from the old NEC.
“This is a gift from the leaders to the nation,” said incoming NEC Chairman Sik Bunhok, who helped draft the new election laws as a CPP lawmaker. “We will do whatever we can to use this gift as the leaders want.”
Rong Chhun, a union leader who was selected by the CNRP as one of the new NEC’s nine commissioners, said he was glad the new NEC could form before the holiday.
“This transfer of positions is fortuitous, as tomorrow is one day before Khmer New Year and the old members are going out and the new members are coming in,” Mr. Chhun said.
“We hope there will be a leadership transfer after the two elections in 2017 and 2018,” added Mr. Chhun, who must now uphold political neutrality as an NEC member.