Phnom Penh (FN), Jan. 15 – The nine-member National Election Committee (NEC) decided at its meeting today to retain its old Secretary General in the competitive position despite complaints and dismay by some civil society groups and political parties.

NEC President, Sith Bun Hok, told reporters that Tep Nitha, the old and re-elected Secretary General of NEC, would be in charge of administrative and financial affairs.

He said the positions of Deputy Secretary General, in charge of the Department of Data Management, Voter Registration List and Operation goes to Mr. Mao Sophearith; the Department of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution goes to Mr. Som Soriuda. Former staff member of a human rights organization, Mr. Ny Charya, will take the Department of Internal Audit while Mr. Mok Dara, a law professor and a legal aid to NICFEC, an election monitoring NGO, will take the Department of Training, Voter Education, and the Department of Information and Public Relations.

A total number of 124 candidates had applied for either the position of Secretary General or the four positions of Deputy Secretary General. 

The 9th and non-political member of NEC, Mr. Hang Puthea, who is seen by many as the last playing card within this election body did not attach a very importance to the SG position, in regard of credible performance of the body. “Objectiveness and fairness of the NEC is not subject to the Secretary General,” he said.