The National Election Committee has reconfigured its committees to integrate newly appointed members from Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party.
Sources within the NEC say the changes are largely pro forma at this point, since many of the nine subcommittees meet irregularly, if at all, at this stage in the election process. The commune council elections are scheduled for Feb 3.
Only three subcommittees—media, finance and administration—have budgets large enough to accomplish much, the sources said. They are chaired by Prum Nhean Vichet, Chhay Kim and Dou Kong Nguon, respectively.
Kuoy Bunroeun of the Sam Rainsy Party will head the logistics subcommittee, which is in charge of shipping materials and other supplies to election offices across the country. Uong Kheng, the new Funcinpec member, will chair the legal services subcommittee.
Kuoy Bunroen was late in joining the NEC, in part because his nomination was rejected by the National Assembly last May, after opposition leader Sam Rainsy had criticized the NEC. The nomination was resubmitted and later passed.
The remaining subcommittees are: election operations and information technology, chaired by Chheng Kim Eng; training and public education, chaired by You Kon; security, chaired by Tip Janvibol; and inspections and examinations, chaired by Chea Chamroeun.
The NEC’s executive committee is chaired by Chheng Phon, with Vice Chairman Kassie Neou; Secretary Dou Kong Nguon, and Treasurer Chhay Kim.
In November, a UN elections expert criticized the NEC as bloated and inefficient, telling National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh it would be more effective with fewer than its current 700 employees.
Prince Ranariddh said at that time he agreed the NEC was too politicized and unprofessional. He said he would support reform of the NEC before the 2003 national elections if the CPP will cooperate.
NEC employees disagreed, saying they had put aside their personal politics to serve their country impartially.