New Officials End Training For Elections

New provincial election officials are ready to start work after receiving three days of training, National Election Committee officials said on Sunday.

The NEC hired eight provincial committee members for each province and municipality last week. The new officials were brought to Phnom Penh for the training, which concluded Sunday.

“Most of them are well-educated people with a lot of experience,” NEC Training and Media De­partment Director Mom Soth said Sunday. “They understand all the subjects they have been taught.”

The officials were trained in electoral law, campaigning, dealing with complaints, dealing with propaganda, recruiting staff, security and the NEC code of ethics, NEC officials said.

“I hope they will work well with their members and relevant institutes,” said Tep Nitha, NEC secretary-general. “It will push the election process ahead.”

Even if officials had prior election experience, this training was es­sential, Tep Nitha said. “We have to teach them all again, even if they have experience, because many articles in the Constitution have been amended [since the last general election], so we have to change to follow them.”

NEC spokesman Leng Sochea agreed. “We train officials every year before elections. We get good results from the training, and it is a good way to let officials know how to govern an election.”

But Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, criticized the transparency of the NEC’s recruitment. Local NGOs were neither in­formed about the process nor al­lowed to monitor it, he said Sun­day. “The NEC did not create a transparent environment to recruit the provincial election com­mittee. They recruited secretly.”

Koul Panha complained that the NEC has ignored Comfrel’s inquiries about the officials’ backgrounds. “The NEC has to offer information about these officials’ backgrounds to NGOs and political parties in order for them to evaluate whether those officials are acceptable or not,” he said.

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