Gov’t Approves NEC’s Senate Spending Plan OK’d by

The National Election Commit­tee has received approval from the government to spend $457,214 for the 2007 senate elections, an NEC official said Wednesday.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Ny­tha said the NEC sent its budget to the government on July 18 and yesterday learned of its ap­proval.

“Yesterday I saw the government’s approval document,” he said.

The 2003 general elections cost about $11 million and the 2002 commune elections about $15 million, Tep Nytha said, explaining that the Senate elections would cost less because they are nonpublic, involving only commune officials and members of the National As­sembly.

But he added that the NEC was spending more per person than it has in past elections.

Tep Nytha also said the NEC would publicize the location of the 33 senate election offices on Oct­ober 17 and that registration of can­didates and political parties was planned to take place be­tween Oct 25 and Nov 18. He said draft codes of conduct for political parties, candidates, election monitors, election officials and security forces would soon be discussed with the political parties, NGOs and others.

Kuol Panha, director of the Com­­mittee for Free and Fair Elec­tions, said his organization would boy­cott the elections be­cause they ex­clude the general pub­lic, do not al­low independent can­didates to par­ticipate and be­cause, he al­leged, the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

The 2003 general election and 2002 commune elections were both open to the general public.

“It’s nonsense to monitor it,” he said. “We don’t want to waste our staff and money when we have other projects to work on.”

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-Ge­ne­ral Eng Chhay Eang said that the opposition had not decided whether it would boycott the elections.

“We have not made a decision yet,” he said.

He also claimed that the elections would be a waste of money and said he was sorry that senators would not have the power to serve their country well.


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