NEC official mocks plight of CNRP

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Funcinpec Party officials file their registration documents for this year’s election with members of the NEC. Pha Lina

The National Election Committee (NEC) Chairman Sik Bun Hok has mocked the dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party, saying its violation of the constitution led to its disolution.

He made his comments during his speech at the National Institute of Education for a workshop on the general election, which is scheduled for July 29. However, some civil society groups and analysts said such action was “inappropriate”.

“Why was this party dissolved? Because it broke the laws, and if it did not, no one would have punished them. “We are sorry for those who won the seat for the party . . . but if the party does something against the law, why should it exist? In the election, the people vote for parties, not individuals,” he said

Bun Hok said the coming election would still be held, despite the absence of the CNRP or international observers, or even “a few voters”.

Hang Vitou, president of the Young Analysts Group, said as the head of an independent agency that supervises the national elections of Cambodia, Bukhok should be “neutral” and not mock or criticise any political party.

“In this recent situation, the NEC’s independence is impossible due to strong political tension,” Vitou said. “Whether it wants it or not, it has to act with bias because CPP has all the power in its hand.”

Meanwhile, Kheoun Sotheara, a Cambodian election expert, said the NEC should show its independence to gain the people’s trust. “As a mediator, it should not criticise one party and praise another,” Sotheara said.

However, NEC spokesperson Dim Sovannarom said it is a “law-enforcement body”.

“If any individual obstructs or distracts the election process, we will take legal action against him.”

Sovannarom said only three parties have registered with the NEC to compete in the election while 22 others have collected the applications for registration. The other nine parties, he said, were putting money in the national treasury as deposits.