The National Election Committee recently appointed a new secretary-general and filled 162 staff positions in its first major round of appointments since coming to power in late October.
The NEC on Friday named Tep Nytha to be secretary-general and Touch Luch to serve as deputy secretary-general. On Monday 162 election officials were hired as NEC staff for the upcoming general elections, scheduled for July 27.
Tep Nytha replaces former secretary-general Im Sousdey, who currently is the NEC chairman.
“We need the 162 people because they are the key people for the NEC’s work and have experience with elections,” said Leng Sochea, NEC Information Department director. “These people will take positions in the office, in various departments and in the Cabinet.”
Tep Nytha on Tuesday confirmed his appointment and the recent hires. He said almost all staff hired Monday are former NEC workers who gained experience during the 1998 general elections or February’s commune council elections. “They are experts in the election, so we absolutely need them,” he said.
Heng Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said he questioned the hires because most had previous NEC experience. “They have experience [with hiding wrongdoing] from past elections,” Heng Puthea.
Leng Sochea said the NEC is in the process of interviewing 109 more potential commission members for various provincial and training positions, and is seeking funds to help pay for the cost of the elections.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng previously said the elections will cost $12.5 million, and that the government will contribute $5 million, with the shortfall being covered by donor country contributions. donor country contributions. Six countries—Australia, Britain, China, Japan, Sweden and the US—have informally pledged money for the upcoming elections. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer recently stated that Australia would contribute $1 million to the elections.