Cambodia

No Reform of National Election Committee, Ministry Says

Election monitors say the reform of the NEC and some election regulations is necessary for free and fair elections.

A woman finds her name on a list during a local commune election in Phnom Penh, June 3, 2012.A woman finds her name on a list during a local commune election in Phnom Penh, June 3, 2012.
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A woman finds her name on a list during a local commune election in Phnom Penh, June 3, 2012.
A woman finds her name on a list during a local commune election in Phnom Penh, June 3, 2012.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The Ministry of Interior will not change the composition of the National Election Committee ahead of 2013 elections, an official told reporters Thursday, following talks with a delegation of opposition officials.

Prum Sokha, secretary of state for the ministry, said a change of the NEC now would necessitate the cancelation of the election and would create social instability.

Opposition officials said they will now consider whether to contest the elections at all.

Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said more than 1.5 million people were unable to vote in commune elections in June, thanks to complicated registration and voting procedures and potential interference from local officials loyal to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Lawmakers from the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties have formed a consolidated opposition in the Cambodian National Rescue Party. But Yim Sovann said that the party now must consider whether to contest the elections. With no change in the NEC, “we know the result already,” he said, referring to the vote.

Election monitors say the reform of the NEC and some election regulations is necessary for free and fair elections.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, a monitoring group, said NEC reform is “crucial” for improved elections that are acceptable to all parties.
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Protesters Clash With Police Outside Premier’s Homei
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Hundreds of housing rights protesters and evictees clashed with security forces outside Phnom Penh on Monday, leaving at least nine people with minor injuries. The clash was one of the first since major violence over Freedom Park in the capital in July. Protesters gathered outside the National Assembly Monday morning, hoping to deliver petitions of grievances, but when no one came out to accept the petitions, they decided to march on the suburban home of Prime Minister Hun Sen, in Kratie province, just outside the capital. There, they clashed with security personnel. VOA's Khmer Suy Heimkhemra reports from Phnom Penh.

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