National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Prach Chan said he expects to share plenty of insights into the upcoming 7th parliamentary election with the French, as well as the EU, while on a weeklong European mission. Both France and other EU members are supportive of the Cambodian electoral system, he claimed.

Chan met with the media at Phnom Penh International Airport on March 13, as he departed for Paris, where he will gain valuable insights into the French electoral model, and share his experience with his European counterparts.

He planned to share the NEC’s preparations for the July election, saying that as an independent body, the committee is committed to ensuring that the election is free, fair and just.

“We want to share our preparations so that we can secure the support of both the French government and the EU. In the past, many international bodies – most notably from the EU and Japan – have cooperated with us on important electoral reforms in areas such as voter registration and the preparation and review of the voter list using the latest information technology,” he said.

“We have been working very hard with our preparations, and want to show our European counterparts, especially those in France, that we are successfully implementing what we have learnt, in the service of Cambodian democracy,” he said.

Chan noted that since the establishment of the Constitutional Council in 1998, the NEC has managed 16 general and non-universal elections according to its mandate, all of them under the freest and fairest of circumstances.

“We want to show what we have done so far in the run-up to this year’s parliamentary election so that all parties in the EU, especially France, can see that Cambodia is following in the footsteps of a liberal, multi-party democracy,” he said.

He added that during the visit, the NEC delegation will meet with the election-related units of the French Ministry of Interior, who oversee elections there. They have also scheduled meetings with the French National Assembly, and members of several political parties, along with Paris City Hall authorities.

Chan himself will meet with the French State and Constitutional Councils, which are both involved in resolving election disputes or complaints. In addition, several meetings will deal with an election campaign-specific agenda.

The March 13-19 visit came at the invitation of At Sophie, director of the Department of International Security Cooperation at the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas, according to the French embassy.

The invitation followed a meeting between Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and French ambassador to Cambodia Jacques Pellet in November last year. The French envoy suggested that the visit would provide valuable support for election-related work.