Monitors Disagree With Commune Draft Law

Election monitors ended a two-day commune election workshop Wednesday critical of the government’s draft law on commune administration but optimistic that NGO participation will be welcomed as election laws are finalized by the Council of Ministers and National Assem­bly.

“There are many points we don’t agree with,” said Sok Sam Oeun, board member for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia.

Still in question is how prominent a role political parties will play on election day. The draft proposes to use a seat-allocation system similar to that employed during last year’s general elections. Critics claim this formula exaggerated the CPP’s narrow victory and instead are pushing for candidates being listed independently on the ballots rather than by party affiliation.

Election monitors also have called for the restructuring of the National Election Committee but say they have received little response from the NEC or government officials on this point.

Those at this week’s meeting agreed not to recommend a quota on female candidates in these elections, though they agreed participation by women is an important im­provement to the political pro­cess.

Prior to this week’s meeting—one of the first times the three main election watchdogs have put forward a united statement on the elections—NGOs complained of little interaction with the government on the issue.

Though complimentary of their dealings with Interior Ministry official Sak Setha, who heads a working group on the law drafts, the NGOs have said they have had no feedback on their recommendations from other government officials.



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