NEC Secretary-General Shortlist Includes Current Position Holder

The final three candidates for the role of secretary-general of the nearly year-old bipartisan National Election Committee (NEC) were named yesterday and include Tep Nytha—who has held the position for more than a decade in what was previously a CPP-dominated body.

The shortlist released by the NEC also lists the 12 final candidates for the positions of deputy secretary-general, of which there will be four. The body’s spokesman, Hang Puthea, said that a January 15 meeting of the nine-member NEC will choose the winners.

Besides Mr. Nytha, the other two candidates for the top job on the new NEC, which was formed in April, are Heng Monychenda, the director of the Buddhism for Development NGO, and Ya Navuth, the director of Caram Cambodia, an AIDS NGO.

“We did not select the finalists by a vote but we got an agreement and approval of all nine members of the NEC at the meeting to choose from the shortlists,” said Mr. Puthea, who is also the only “neutral” NEC member.

As part of the July 2014 deal between the CPP and the CNRP that ended the opposition’s yearlong parliamentary boycott, the other eight NEC members were selected in equal part by each party.

Contacted by phone yesterday, Mr. Monychenda said he was aware he was a shortlisted candidate for secretary-general, the NEC’s top administrative role, but declined to comment on his candidacy.

Mr. Nytha, who oversaw an NEC beset with allegations of voter list irregularities, also declined to discuss the shortlist.

“I don’t want to talk too much about this but I fulfilled all the requirements in my application, so it’s up to the NEC to decide,” explained Mr. Nytha, who was appointed in 2002.

The new secretary-general will be tasked this year with leading the rebuilding of the national voter list using a completely electronic system that promises to quash voter fraud through the use of biometric data.

The list, if completed, will be used for the 2017 commune elections and the 2018 national election.

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