Assembly Panel to Accept NEC Nominations Beginning Friday

The National Assembly’s standing committee will meet on Friday to open nominations for members of the new National Election Committee (NEC) and then vote on its nine members on April 13, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The establishment of a new NEC with four members from each of the two major parties as well as a ninth “neutral” member was key to the deal that ended last year’s political deadlock, and the laws necessary to create the new body passed the National Assembly last week.

“The standing committee on Friday the 27th will examine the procedure for recruiting the candidates who will stand to be members of the new NEC,” National Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun said Wednesday.

“It means that Friday’s meeting will decide to make an announcement to accept applications from the two political parties and the public,” he said. “The National Assembly will hold a plenary meeting on April 13…to vote on the new composition of the National Election Committee.”

CPP spokesman Sok Ey San said that the ruling party has not yet decided on its four candidates.

“[W]e are still waiting for the standing committee to hold a meeting on the 27th so everybody can submit application forms,” he said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy did not respond to a request for comment about the CNRP’s selections.

Mr. Vun said that the “neutral” position on the NEC still stands to be filled by Licadho President Pung Chhiv Kek, who was approved by both parties last year but accepted the position on conditions that were ultimately not met.

The law governing the NEC now includes a ban on people with foreign citizenship from taking up positions on the NEC, meaning that Ms. Chhiv Kek would be required to renounce her French and Canadian passports.

Ms. Chhiv Kek indicated Wednesday she would make an announcement when the nominations process opens.

“Please be patient; I’ll be able to comment in just a few days,” she said in an email.

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