May 2, 2013 - We, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) listed below, would like to reiterate our support and appeal for a free, fair and legitimate election that is held with the full confidence of all political parties contesting seats as well as members of the public casting their vote in the 2013 general election.
We also wish to voice our concerns over the lack of fair competition and unequal political playing fields, and the resulting potential for political conflict especially in the case of Mr Sam Rainsy, leader of opposition party, who is unable to safely contest the election. We also wish to express our concern over the lack of transparency on preparations for the elections along with the overall poor management of the recruitment and selection of members of election commissions at all level, and the poor quality of the voter list that will result in a loss of voting rights to otherwise eligible voters.
We urge the National Election Committee (NEC) to take into account two key recommendations:
1. The voter list and voting rights: The NEC post a validated voter list in every village office immediately so that each voter whose name has been omitted from the list or no data recorded on the voter list for 2013 national assembly election (their name could not be found or their name/data had been changed or deleted entirely or has been completely misspelled) has enough time to apply for an Identification Certificate for Election (ICE). Issuing the ICE card must require those applying to submit evidence and supporting document of prior registration, such as a registration receipt. To increase public confidence and avoid voter fraud, ICE cards should be are issued later than 26th of June 2013. All documentation and records relating to the issuance of ICE cards must be strictly controlled by the Commune/Sangkat Election Commission and published publicly. To ensure further transparency, that the NEC allows observers from all political parties to stand directly behind the secretary of polling stations, so that they may observe that the election procedure is being carried out accurately. Observers should also be permitted to verify voters’ data on the voter list against their identity documents to stamp out election fraud resulting from the use of falsified documents. These practices should be integrated into the NEC’s general regulations and guidelines for the 2013 national election.
2. The recruitment of Commune/Sangkat Election Commissions and Polling/Counting Station Officers: The establishment of an ad hoc commission to recruit monitor and accredit Commune/Sangkat Election Commissions (CECs) and Polling/Counting Station Officers (PSOs). These commissions should be made up of political party members holding seats in the National Assembly who have registered to contest the 2013 election. Those political Parties (holding seats in the National Assembly who have registered to contest the 2013 election) should be encouraged to nominate their own representatives as members of the CEC and as PSOs.
We strongly believe that the NEC should enter into a comprehensive dialogue with political parties and civil society organisations to ensure actions are taken that result in an appropriate resolution to the above recommendations. If these considerations are not resolved before Election Day, We are concerned that the upcoming election will see a loss of trust and legitimacy in the eyes of national and international stakeholders.
For more information, please contact:
• Mdr. Thun Saray, Chairman of COMFREL’s board and President of ADHOC, Tel: 016 440 044
• Dr. Pung Chiv Kek, Chairwoman of NICFEC’s board and President of LICADHO, Tel: 012 802 506
• Mr. Horng Puthea, Executive director of NICFEC, Tel: 012 959 666
• Mr. Koul Panha, Executive director of COMFREL, Tel: 012 942 017