Election Commission Proposes Creation of New Departments

The National Election Committee (NEC) will submit draft sub-decrees to the government this week that would establish three new departments within the commission to manage public relations, voter lists and procurement.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the new departments would not become official until approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“Because the NEC does not work alone and it involves signing by the prime minister. I think that about three weeks from now, it would be signed,” he said.

The department of information and public relations will be tasked with keeping the public informed about elections and participating political parties, Mr. Puthea said.

“Like producing programs on television and on the radio to deliver information about political parties and their debates, and documents for voting,” he explained, adding that the department would also exchange information with relevant government bodies and NGOs.

Mr. Puthea said the department of data and voter list management would collect information about voters at commune level, “while the procurement department will organize and implement bidding processes.”

The nine-member NEC—which was overhauled earlier this year after months of negotiations between the CPP and CNRP—has yet to decide who will be in charge of the new departments, Mr. Puthea said.

“We have to consider the existing staff first. If there is a lack [of qualified candidates], we will recruit more staff,” he said.

The NEC’s longtime secretary-general, Tep Nytha, remains in his position despite calls from the CNRP to replace him with someone who was not involved in organizing past elections, which the opposition says were rigged in favor of the CPP.

Mr. Nytha said Sunday that he expected to leave his post soon, once a separate sub-decree to appoint a new secretary-general was approved.

“When the new arrangements are finished, we will recruit a new secretary-general,” he said.

“But at that time, I also have the right to apply for the position like others.”


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