The first of seven provincial election roundtables started Wednesday in Svay Rieng province with members of all three major political parties agreeing that the National Election Committee needs reform, NGO election officials said.
The provincial representatives from the CPP, Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Party, however, disagreed on the details of the NEC reforms at the roundtable discussion, said Channtha Muth, senior program manager for the National Democratic Institute.
According to Channtha Muth, the Funcinpec official, who was not identified, proposed that the NEC should be composed of two members from each party represented at the National Assembly, and the Sam Rainsy Party official publicly agreed with the official, he said.
The two CPP officials, however, proposed that the NEC should be made up of “five independent personalities” who are appointed by the Ministry of Interior and approved by the National Assembly, Channtha Muth said.
At the roundtable discussions, which are organized by the election NGO Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, the participants are scheduled to discuss reforming the NEC, increasing the number of women candidates, equal media access for all major parties and a separate electoral court which would potentially hear electoral disputes, said Heng Puthea, president of Nicfec.
Heng Puthea said the Svay Rieng province election discussion was attended by members of the commune and provincial election committees, provincial authorities and members from civil society.
Nicfec will organize similar meetings in Kompong Cham, Kratie, Prey Veng, Takeo, Pursat and Battambang and will conclude on July 26. The next meeting will be held on Friday in Takeo province.