The National Election Committee (NEC) has a tentative plan to register political parties and candidates online next year to bolster trust in Cambodian elections and the country’s information technology system.
NEC spokesman Dim Sovannarom told The Post on November 15 the process of registering political parties and candidates will roll out in the first six months of next year. For this work to begin, however, NEC needs to organise a consultative meeting with relevant parties before setting it in motion.
He said the NEC will discuss the idea with the Korea-based Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) regarding the election plan, while also discussing needed materials and IT issues.
“This online registration system can prevent a candidate from standing for more than one political party. For those who have the right to register, they have to have their names on the Ministry of Interior list in accordance with the Law on Political Parties,” Sovannarom said.
Ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan supported the plan. He said it is in line with technological advance in Cambodia where more is being done online.
“I view the NEC plan as a response to modern technologies and this will facilitate the registration of more political parties. It’s good that the NEC enables online registration.
“However, not all parties can register online – they need to be [recognised and] registered at the Ministry of Interior formally first. They need to follow prescribed terms and conditions and other formalities as stipulated in the Law on Political Parties. Only then can they register candidates in elections,” Eysan said.
Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros also supported the plan, saying Cambodia and the world are currently facing Covid-19.
“If there is such an online registration system, it will make it convenient [for candidates to register]. But what is worrisome and problematic is the official election forms still have to be certified by election officials,” he said.
Korng Savang, an observer from the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel), said registering political parties and candidates online is good, but correct procedures need to be prepared.
“Regarding online registration, it is good if NEC has procedures and parties prepare registration forms correctly based on the law. It is even better when it gains support from the government,” he said.