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NEC clarifies changes in election regulations

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NEC holds a meeting to update the public on the progress of voter registration and voter list verification on November 15. Heng Chivoan

NEC clarifies changes in election regulations

The National Election Committee (NEC) said the draft of regulations and procedures for the upcoming 2023 general election are almost identical to those for the 2018 poll, which it said were successfully implemented.

This confirmation came after a number of political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) expressed their concerns over the draft regulations.

In a November 18 statement, NEC said it had noted the concerns raised by a number of parties and CSOs regarding the review and commentary on the drafts of regulations and procedures for the upcoming 7th-mandate parliamentary election, slated to take place on July 23, 2023.

NEC informed the public and all stakeholders that the drafts are based on the law on the parliamentary election and its amendments from 2018. They also include the modernisation principles which the NEC put into use for the commune council elections in June this year.

“The draft regulations and procedures for the 7th-mandate parliamentary election in 2023 almost completely retain the original content of those for the 2018 election. We have simply included some technical conditions that were implemented successfully in the 5th-mandate commune council elections,” it said.

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC), said the draft regulations for the upcoming elections are very similar to the content of the 2008 regulation drafts. However, he said NEC should consider the views of the representatives of political parties and CSOs that request amendments to avoid criticism during and after the election.

“We want NEC to consider proposals from all parties to avoid irregularities, because the drafts are not yet complete. The concerns are being raised now because the NEC has modified the content of each chapter, including on security, ballot counting, the wearing of uniforms and ID cards procedures,” he added.

He said the adjustments include updates to Chapter 1 on election security work so that they are in line with the inter-institutional plan drawn up by the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Defense and itself.

Chapter 4 includes the use of computer systems to assist in the registration of political parties and the list of candidates. This programme was developed from that used for the registration of candidates in 2022.

Chapter 6 includes the use of computer systems to control the application and issuance of election identification documents in accordance with guidelines from the interior ministry and NEC.

Chapter 8 includes the use of computer systems to assist in the management, monitoring, verification and compilation of election results, including preliminary, provisional and official election results.

There are also some revisions on the conditions required for completing and using the record of vote counting. It said this will improve efficiency, effectiveness and transparency

Following the clarification, the NEC welcomed the opinions of all stakeholders on the draft regulations and procedures. It will consider any comments which are raised, based on the spirit of the law.

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