Prach Chan, former parliamentarian of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, was sworn in as chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC) on June 30. Upon taking office, he made a commitment to hold free and fair elections.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the presence of Minister of the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol, who represented King Norodom Sihamoni. The King also issued a royal decree for an end to the mandate of Chan’s predecessor Sik Bun Hok, who resigned for health reasons.
Chan said at the event that he will lead NEC in line with the law so that each election will be held freely and fairly to increase the institution’s credibility.
“In order to reach these goals, I would like to request and encourage leaders and election officials at all levels to strengthen solidarity and cooperate closely to continue performing the roles and duties of holding elections with great responsibility,” he said.
Chan also called on national and international observers to continue cooperation with NEC in line with the law and the principal of multi-party liberal democracy.
He said that since 1998, Cambodia has held its own elections with the participation and cooperation of national and international observers. NEC had organised national and sub-national elections in compliance with the law 16 times.
“The general and other elections took place regularly in line with the law and these elections were appreciated by national and international observers as having been held smoothly, securely, safely, freely and fairly in terms of both the legal and technical aspects,” Chan said.
Korn Savang, monitoring coordinator for the electoral watchdog Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, was of the view that the selection process lacked transparency. He urged NEC to ensure its independence and neutrality for voters.
“I hope that the person who is responsible for NEC will make this institution independent and neutral so that it gains the confidence of all relevant sides including citizens,” he said.
Chan was one of two candidates who applied to the National Assembly to be NEC chairman. He was chosen by the CPP according to the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of NEC.
Chan was formerly a senior official at the Ministry of Interior from 1991-2001, Battambang provincial governor from 2001-2003 and Tbong Khmum provincial governor from 2014-2017 before serving as parliamentarian for Tbong Khmum province.