National Election Committee members on Monday blamed political party workers for some of the mistakes committed in carrying out the July 26 elections.
Problems occurred in Prey Veng province, an NEC statement said, “because political party agents, trained by their own parties, were sometimes not sufficiently knowledgeable about the electoral process….[Polling station] staff reported that counting was interrupted because some political agents didn’t understand the process.”
The statement, which summed up the results of a Saturday meeting between NEC delegates and local election officials, also acknowledged that technical mistakes had slowed down election procedures in the province. “Materials for the registration of voters arrived late or were not delivered in sufficient amounts,” the statement said.
Under fire for dismissing opposition-party allegations of election fraud, delegates of the NEC are touring the provinces to meet with local officials and to offer their own evaluation of the committee’s performance. Monday’s statement came after Prum Nhien Vichit, NEC chairman of the subcommittee in charge of the media, and spokesman Leng Sochea met with 174 local election officials in Prey Veng province Saturday.
NEC members had previously visited Svay Rieng, Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom provinces and met with officials there. According to the statement, “Remarks and complaints submitted by election officials in different provinces were similar to the ones reported to [Prum Nhien Vichit and Leng Sochea] in Prey Veng.”
The NEC plans to hold a seminar in Phnom Penh at the end of this month to sum up the reports of its delegates. NEC spokesman Samraing Kamsan said Monday he hopes the final seminar will convince people “to recognize the election results and to acknowledge that the NEC has done a good job despite the lack of money.”
He said he hoped that the meetings with local officials will help them to draw lessons from their experiences, “so that we can organize a better election in 2003.”
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