Newly appointed National Election Committee chairman Im Suosdey vowed on Thursday to work hard to reform the committee during a ceremony in which the five new NEC members were officially sworn in.
“We will further implement the good points done by the old NEC, and correct the negative points for the best,” Im Suosdey said.
During the ceremony at the NEC headquarters, Im Suosdey promised to lead the new NEC toward a better performance for an “impartial stance” during the national elections, scheduled to be held in July.
On Oct 25, the National Assembly overwhelmingly approved the five new NEC members amid much criticism from opposition leader Sam Rainsy and others, who charge that the new members could not be impartial since they were picked by the CPP-dominated Ministry of Interior.
The new NEC members include Nge Chhay Lieng as deputy chairman, Mean Sati, Koy Vet and Sin Chum Bo. According to the law, all new party members are not aligned with any political party.
The previous 11-member NEC had also been accused of being biased toward the ruling CPP.
Outgoing NEC chairman Chheng Phon, also speaking at the ceremony, wished Im Suosdey a “successful future” and thanked his colleagues for their efforts during the country’s last two elections.
Outgoing NEC member Kuy Bunroeun, the only member of the Sam Rainsy Party to serve on the old NEC, expressed doubt that the new team would be free from political influence.
Saying that the ruling party still controls the state-owned broadcast media and didn’t provide equal access to the airwaves for the opposition party and smaller parties, Kuy Bunroeun said “many sources have said there is no equal access to the broadcast media in elections, so it might not be a free and fair election.”
Im Suosdey said the five new NEC members will meet for the first time on Monday to examine the internal rules of the NEC. Also, the Ministry of Interior will meet with the UNDP, NEC and donor countries today.