Election Monitor Raps NEC Hiring Procedures

Despite criticism by election monitors, the National Election Committee is proceeding with the hiring of more than 300 provincial staffers, an official said on Wednesday.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections and the Neutral, Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections issued a joint statement Wednesday condemning the NEC’s hiring practices.

In selecting 162 national-level staff, including the secretary-general and deputy, the NEC operated behind closed doors rather than publicly soliciting all qualified applicants as it should have, the statement said.

“The NEC must publicly de­clare the procedures and decisions that led to the choice of secretary-general and deputy secretary-general and explain their qualifications,” the statement said.

“As selection continues of officials for Provincial Election Committees, it must be transparent, fair and based on sound information,” the statement said.

Leng Sochea, director of the NEC’s information department, said the NEC was following its own rules. “What we have done is according to procedure,” he said. “We didn’t violate any rules in selecting candidates to work for the NEC.”

The application process was open to all, he said. “We made announcements in local newspapers, radio and television for weeks before the applications were closed.”

Leng Sochea said interviews are now being conducted to hire 109 more national staff. Soon, 353 people will be chosen to staff the provincial committees, he added. “Everyone has the right to apply.”

The NEC takes hiring seriously, he said. “We are careful in choosing our officials. If we choose the wrong ones, people will have no confidence in us.”

 

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