NGOs Back Two-Thirds Vote for NEC Selections

The Electoral Reform Alliance, a group of election monitors and NGOs, put its support behind the opposition CNRP’s demands for a two-thirds majority vote for selecting members of the National Election Committee (NEC) at a workshop Tuesday in Phnom Penh.

The process for selecting members of the NEC has been at the center of the political deadlock between the CNRP and ruling CPP, with the opposition demanding that committee members are selected by a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

The CPP insists on electing members with a simple majority, which would allow it to singlehandedly select the NEC’s composition.

The CNRP’s ongoing boycott of the National Assembly, in which it holds 55 out of 123 seats, is now in its ninth month.

The Electoral Reform Alliance (ERA) proposed in a policy brief that the National Assembly approve NEC members with a two-thirds majority based on the recommendations of a “selective committee” that would be composed equally of members of both parties and a lone representative of King Norodom Sihamoni.

The ERA also recommended that the NEC be enshrined in the Constitution, another demand of the CNRP. Surya Subedi, the U.N.’s human rights envoy to Cambodia, who attended the workshop, also said he supported a constitutionally enshrined electoral body.

“The NEC should be converted into a commission with a constitutional status and independent funding,” Mr. Subedi said.

“It should not have to depend on the executive,” he added. “If you have to depend on anyone for money, your independence is compromised.”

Following its report on July’s national election, which showed that irregularities in voter lists and identification cards benefitted the ruling CPP, the ERA was blasted by the Council of Ministers for supposedly working with the CNRP to undermine public confidence in the electoral process.

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