Prach Chan, chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), opined that seven fundamental principles must underpin any electoral system aiming for credibility and legality.
In his address to international election observers and embassy representatives who monitored the July 23 general election, Chan asserted that the seven pillars of any sound election administration are independence, neutrality, integrity, transparency, efficiency, professionalism and serviceship.
On July 24, at a dinner honouring these observers, Chan said: "Running an election is not a straightforward matter. Success depends on numerous factors such as clear laws, stringent regulations, ethical practices, provision of ample resources, budget, and stakeholder involvement. No nation's election process in the world is without fault".
Chan insisted on the democratic aspirations of the Cambodian people, who believe in a liberal, multi-party system. He said their collective desire was for an election process that is just, free and universally accepted.
"As chairman of the NEC and a representative of all Cambodians, we strive for regular, law-abiding elections. This is evident from the preliminary results of the 2023 general election where 84.58 per cent of voters turned out to vote, showing an increase from previous elections," he noted.
On July 25, Tumpen Virakvitou, president of the Civil Society Organisation Network (CSON) in Cambodia, which boasts a membership of 168 organisations, echoed Chan's sentiments. He hailed the NEC's meticulous preparation for the election as evidence of the body's experience and its adherence to Cambodian internal rules and laws.
He expressed his belief that this electoral process was accepted as “free and fair” by all involved stakeholders, including local and international observers, special guests, general observers and the Cambodian populace at large.
"What is noteworthy is that in this seventh government mandate, there has been a rise in the number of both local and international observers," Virakvitou observed.
"I view this increase as a testament to the quality of the election, and I stand behind Chan’s statement in agreement," he said.