Annan May Bless July Poll

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected next week to declare the Cambodian elections scheduled for July fit for continued UN coordination, a UN election adviser said Friday.

That stamp of approval, according to Robert Drew of the UNDP, would likely influence the allocation of other donors’ money.

“Everybody’s waiting because if the UN says it’s pulling out, no one is going to want to give very much money,” Drew said.

Expectations of Annan’s declaration come as the beleaguered National Election Commission is attempting to finalize its budget, which would enable it to pay salaries two months overdue, the body’s treasurer said Thursday.

It remains unclear how much of the estimated $26 million cost of the election the donor community will pick up as conditions have not been met.

Chhay Kim, treasurer for the NEC, said he expects international donors will pay for all election costs except $5 million, which the government said it will cover.

“Now we expect to get more from donors, [so] I think we can afford our expenses,” he said.

However, the $5 million the government is slated to provide has not arrived, Chhay Kim said.

The Finance Ministry said the $1.5 million committed to an election budget last year should come out of the $5 million allotted for national elections this year.

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