Friday, 1.6.2007: National Election Committee Reform Is Very Important for 2008 National Elections

Posted on 2 June 2007. Filed under: Week 510 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 510

“After Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Vice-President of the Cambodian People’s Party [CPP], announced publicly that the forth term parliamentary election will be held on Sunday 27 July 2008, many said that a reform of the National Election Committee [NEC] is very important, so that the election will be conducted free and fair. If the NEC is not independent, not neutral, and is biased towards the ruling party like it is today, the forth term national election cannot be conducted free and fair.

“On Wednesday 30 May, Mr. Sam Rainsy, the leader of the no-longer-opposing-party, asked Mr. Yash Ghai, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, that the UN should organize the 2008 parliamentary election like the one which was organized during the UNTAC [United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia] time in 1993. After the discussion with Mr. Yash Ghai, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that he himself and other Khmer people want the election like the one organized during the UNTAC time, because the elections after the UNTAC time brought many difficulties to the people – especially there is a bias towards the ruling party. He affirmed that his appeal is in line with the wish of many Khmer people and some political parties.

“The leader of the no-longer-opposing-party, who is an unreal democrat and an opportunist, noticed, ‘Since 1993, elections have been increasingly difficult and complicated and increasingly biased and very advantageous towards the ruling party. Such elections have made people want to express their sufferings; especially those whose land and whose houses had been grabbed and confiscated. They did not only lose land and houses, but also the right to vote [as they were not registered at the places of relocation].’

“In response to the above speech of Mr. Sam Rainsy, the leader of the no-longer-opposing-party, Mr. Tep Nitha, the secretary-general of the NEC, stated that a request for the United Nations to organize elections is the right of every party, but the election must be held according to the election law which has been decided by the National Assembly. Mr. Koul Panha, the executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, expressed the hope that the United Nations should provide many technical people for the 2008 election, so that everything gets better than it was before; however, if somebody wants the 2008 election to be organized like the one which was held in 1993, it is obviously impossible, because it would cost very much money.

“National and international observers noticed that after the election which had been organized by UNTAC in 1993, later on the CPP always won the elections, and during all elections and after the elections, there were always protests from many political parties, that the CPP had conducted vote fraud and made threats against the voters, etc. Nevertheless, all such protests have never brought any solution with transparency, because the NEC, which is a tool of the CPP, has used tricks to protect the benefits of the CPP in many ways. Therefore, many people straightforwardly criticize the NEC with Mr. Im Suosdey as its president and Mr. Tep Nitha as its secretary-general, of being not independent, not neutral, and of being shamelessly biased towards the ruling party.

“Mr. Yash Ghai, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, once had criticized the NEC of being not independent and not neutral, and of being a tool of the ruling party. This straightforward criticism made Mr. Im Suosdey and Mr. Tep Nitha very angry, and they released a statement of denial, trying to protect the bad image, but in a bad way. Actually, the NEC, which is under the power of Mr. Im Suosdey and Mr. Tep Nitha, conducts its affairs badly, even beyond what Mr. Yash Ghai had criticized.

“Before the second term commune and subdistrict council elections were held on 1 April 2007, some civil society representatives and analysts made an assessment in advance, that the CPP was to be successful, because it has the support from the NEC which is its tool. This advance assessment of civil society representatives and of analysts was correct, because when the results were out, the CPP was the winner; nonetheless the success was not in harmony with the Khmer people’s will, because up to more than 2.5 million Khmer people failed to vote, while many Yuon [Vietnamese] nationals had the right to vote instead of Khmers.

“Non-government organization officials, who observed the second term commune and subdistrict council elections on 1 April 2007, criticized the elections for having had many irregularities, especially irregularities in the voter lists, mistakes for which the NEC is responsible. This is why the CPP was successful, while more than 2.5 million Khmer people failed to vote, and there were many other cases which show that the NEC is not independent and neutral, and it is a tool of the CPP.

“Analysts said that in order to have the forth term national election on 27 July 2008 conducted free and fair, the NEC must be reformed, so that the NEC is really independent and neutral. If Im Suosdey and Tep Nitha are still president and secretary-general of the NEC, the 2008 national elections cannot be conducted free and fair. In contrast to other parties, the CPP will still have more facilities than the other parties, because it has the NEC as a tool to use tricks to assist the CPP in many ways.” Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3050, 1.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 1 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1354, 1.6.2007

  • Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen Receives Representatives of Muslim Aid [an organization]
  • Husband and Wife [outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court, after a hearing on their divorce] Compete for Their Little Daughter: Wife Said, ‘I Gave Birth to Her,’ Husband Said, ‘I Produced Her’

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6054, 1.6.2007

  • 579 Minors Aged from 13 to 18 Are in Prison [countrywide – according to Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3173, 1.6.2007

  • Ministry of So Khun [Minister of Posts and Telecommunications] Loses Much Money Because It Cannot Control Overseas Phone Gateway Theft
  • Hun Sen Speaks of His Prime Ministerial Position for 2008 Like a Threat

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.14, #11, .6.2007

  • [Poor] Children Who Sell Things Opposite Royal Palace: We Don’t Know What Festival Is on 1 June

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4299, 1.6.2007

  • Krom Preah Decides to Appeal against [Phnom Penh Municipal] Court Decision [which gave him 18 months’ imprisonment]
  • Samdech Hun Sen Speaks about Globalization and Regional Integration
  • Russian Federation: Cambodia Is Our Important Partner [for discussion with ASEAN]
  • Cambodia Lacks Capital to Become a Country of Rice Exports
  • [Former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin and 110 [Thai Rak Thai] Party Officials Are Banned from Politics for Five Years [on accusation of vote fraud]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3050, 1.6.2007

  • National Election Committee Reform Is Very Important for 2008 National Elections
  • National Assembly Votes for Ek Sam Ol to Take Up Position of President of Council of Magistracy Replacing Bin Chhin [whose mandate ends]
  • Serious Corruption and Huge Debts to Foreign Countries Make that Cambodian Economy Cannot Grow Like Other ASEAN Members’
  • Yash Ghai [Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia] Expresses Sorrow for Appeals Court Decision over Case of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [accused of murder of Chea Vichea, former head of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia]

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #415, 1.6.2007

  • On 13 June, Mixed-Blood Court [Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Will Start to Investigate Former Khmer Rouge Leaders

Go to last week’s editorial

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