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NEC bids to learn from its mistakes

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
The NEC met to discuss its poll performance. Supplied

Preventing spoiled ballots and improving complaint resolution were top of the agenda when the National Election Committee met at the weekend to discuss ways to improve the commune polls.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the two-day meeting in Preah Sihanouk province was called to talk about both the negative and positive aspects of the June 4 polls, to help shape future elections.

Political party representatives, government officials and NGOs participated in the talks, which covered issues including campaigning, registration and ballot counting.

Spoiled ballots were raised as a major problem. Of more than seven million ballots cast last month, 133,484 were deemed invalid.

“We talked a lot about the number of invalid ballots in this commune election,” Mr Puthea said. “We came up with good recommendations to use in the next election.”

People are not aware of how to mark their ballot papers correctly, he said, so the NEC will conduct educational campaigns to inform them ahead of future polls.

The NEC’s final commune poll results showed the ruling CPP took 6,503 of 11,572 seats in 1,646 communes nationwide, while the opposition CNRP won 5,007.

At the time, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann claimed the large number of so-called invalid ballots was caused by the fact the ruling CPP controlled the majority of commune election committees.

“The commune election committees of some communes are imbalanced towards the CPP,” he said.

“Some ballots were cast for the CNRP but the commune election committee did not provide the validity.”

Following the NEC meeting at the weekend, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the opposition CNRP’s claims about invalid ballots were not true.

“It all depends on whether people in local areas tick the ballot properly,” Mr Eysan said.

Yoeung Sotheara, legal and monitoring officer at Comfrel, said the meeting was a good way to evaluate the polls and make changes ahead of the 2018 national election. “It is good the NEC is paying attention to this,” Mr Sothea said.

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