EU Finalizing Plans To Bring Poll Observers

The European Union is formalizing plans to have a 120-person observation team in Cambodia for the upcoming national election, said Rafael Dochao Mo­reno, charge d’affaires of the European Commission delegation to Cambodia.

Two memorandums that would finalize the deal could be signed as early as this week between the EU, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Election Committee, Dochao Moreno said.

The EU delegation would join more than 8,000 people from Cambodia and abroad who are registered to monitor the July election, according to the NEC. About 8,400 monitors will come from 23 national NGOs, said NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha. An additional 23 obser­vers have registered from the National Democratic Institute, the US embassy and a Japanese organization called PESOCJ, he said.

“Observers are important. They are the witness of the election.” Tep Nytha said. “After the election, they have the right to issue statements to evaluate the election process.” He added that he also expects the memorandum of understanding with the EU to be finalized shortly.

Other groups will likely be added to the list in the coming weeks, Tep Nytha said, because observers can register until July 26. But Dochao Moreno said he believes the EU team will likely be the largest international monitoring presence.

The EU team’s goal would be to “promote democracy” as it independently monitors “transparency” to determine whether Cambodia’s election was “free and fair,” Dochao Moreno said.

“Even if we see Cambodia has made a lot of progress in respect to political, social growth, the Euro­pean Union’s goal is to promote democracy in Cambodia, as [the EC delegation’s] presence attests to,” Dochao Moreno said.

If approved, this would be the third EU team to monitor a Cam­bo­dian election. EU monitors attended the 2007 commune election and the 2003 general election as well, Dochao Moreno said.

The EU monitored elections in nine countries last year, and in 2008 has sent observation teams to Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan.

 

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