Opposition Parties Say They Had Too Little Time to Review Election Procedures

2 min read
Vote-counting in Takhmao city’s Prek Russei commune, in Kandal, on June 5, 2022. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)
[responsivevoice_button voice="US English Female"]

Opposition parties say they received too little time to review a 337-page National Election Committee draft of procedures for the upcoming national election after the committee asked for feedback within two and a half weeks.

Yeng Virak, president of the Grassroots Democratic Party, said Thursday that he “didn’t expect” the draft and that NEC should allow parties and civil society groups to review it again.

“Our Grassroots Democratic Party working group has been reading [the draft] until now,” he said. “We were disappointed to see some procedures still written the same [as in the past]. In fact, four parties met with the NEC before and requested to change the procedures.”

Prach Chan, the NEC’s chairperson, said the draft was made public from November 1st to 19th for parties and NGOs to provide comments. In total, the draft spans 337 pages, including 10 chapters and annexes.

Candlelight Party vice president Thach Setha agreed with critics that the regulations were too complicated to review in detail and said that while the party was still “preparing and reviewing,” it was difficult to provide substantial feedback in “a really short time.”

Pursuant to election law, the government announced at the end of June 2022 that the National Assembly election would be held on Sunday, July 23, 2023.

Responding to the pushback, NEC spokesperson Som Sorida defended the amount of time given to parties and NGOS, saying the draft should not be complicated to review because the NEC only changed small details.

“This is a lot of pages but only small changes,” he said.

Korn Savang, a coordinator at election watchdog Comfrel, said that the NEC is creating unsuitable difficulties for parties.

Violations of procedures during the June commune election, especially in the registration of candidates, was a major complaint of opposition parties, who have unsuccessfully attempted to lobby the NEC to meet and discuss their grievances.

VOD. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission. VOD is not responsible for any infringement in all forms. The perpetrator may be subject to legal action under Cambodian laws and related laws.