Comfrel Unveils Plan for Reforming NEC

An election monitoring NGO on Tuesday put forward its own suggestion for restructuring the National Election Committee, though it was short on specifics on how committee members would be chosen.

At a roundtable on Tuesday, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections suggested that the NEC be composed of members who have not belonged to any political party for at least nine months. After their NEC term is up, members could not join political parties or take a higher post in government for three years.

NEC members would be se­lected by a committee of seven, in­cluding three members from each of the political parties now in the National Assembly, a lawyer, a journalist, one appointed by the political parties, and one from civil society. The NEC would also be overseen by a “controlling committee.”

But Comfrel Director Koul Panha was not more specific about who would choose the selection or controlling committees. Instead, he said he would submit the proposal to the As­sem­bly, and that the selection issue would be discussed further if the Assembly supported it.

The question of who would select NEC members has been central to the committee reform debate. The government’s draft law mandates that the Ministry of Interior selects the members, who would be approved by the Assembly.

Assembly Legislative Com­mittee Chairman Monh Saphan has said he would consider proposals from NGOs. Represent­atives from more than a dozen small parties attended Tuesday’s roundtable, while the larger parties stayed away. Small party leaders complained that they had been shut out of the electoral law reform process.

 

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