The opposition Khmer National United Party has asked to meet with the National Election Committee to make changes to electoral procedures ahead of the upcoming national July 2023 election.
KNUP sent a letter asking to meet with NEC representatives on November 24 to go over potential changes to the 337-page draft of procedures, which opposition groups complained they had too little time to review in November. The NEC replied on November 28.
Yem Ponhearith, deputy president of the KNUP, said he saw “loopholes” in the rules and procedures and demanded the establishment make changes around election result reports known as Form 1102, among other issues.
“We submitted a letter to meet NEC with the aim to have additional clarification over the points that we have asked for discussion. On many other points … we think that we can [receive] a thorough explanation only if we meet directly,” he said.
In the letter, KNUP president Nhek Bun Chhay said that he wanted to see changes to procedures around Form 1102 and asked for clarification surrounding NGO election observers not being allowed to wear uniforms or logos of their establishment but instead use cards issued by the NEC.
NEC spokesperson Hang Puthea said that about eight political parties and NGOs have given their input on the draft procedures so far and said that the NEC had not denied the request for a meeting.
“The duty of the NEC is to respond and set up time for meeting any party that contacts through written [letter],” he said.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections or NICFEC, said the rules and procedures seemed not to have changed much compared to previous versions but that parties still had the right to ask for changes.
“We have seen NEC’s draft [rule],” he said. “It is almost the same as the previous draft rules and procedures. It has nothing strange.”
Parties and civil society groups were given from November 1 to 19 to read the draft and provide feedback. In all, the document spanned 337 pages across 10 chapters.
The government has set July 23, 2023 for the national election.