NEC Has Yet To Decide on Debate Series

The National Election Com­mittee is in the process of deciding whether to give the go-ahead to a political party debate series planned by the National Demo­cratic In­sti­tute.

Technical officials met Thursday but have yet to reach a decision, ac­cording to NEC Secretary-Gen­eral Tep Nytha.

NDI intends to host 31 debates during the monthlong campaign period, said NDI Resident Country Director Jerome Cheung.

One de­bate in each province would be televised; the others would be broadcast on the radio.

The NDI wants to use an “equity” formula to determine which parties participate in those debates, Cheung said.

This would invite the four main political parties to all or most of the televised debates and would allow smaller parties access to one or two, depending on their representation level in the debate location. The NDI used a similar distribution system for their radio debate series in 2007, he added.

The Society of Justice Party, one of the 11 parties competing in the upcoming election, has complained that the NDI’s participation formula is unfair. Ban Sophal, president of the tiny SJP, said that an “equality” formula, which would give each party equal airtime, is mandated by election law.

“I do not want to block the debate, but I want the NDI-sponsored debate [to give access] equally by the election law,” he said Wed­nes­day.

Human Rights Party Vice Presi­dent Keo Remy also weighed in against the NDI’s formula. “It is unfair and it doesn’t abide by the election law,” he said. “We won’t file a complaint, but we might not take part.”

The NEC must make a decision, said Tep Nytha. “If one or two parties complain against it, it cannot go ahead,” he said.

“NDI should use an equality formula instead of an equity formula,” he added.

Should the NEC rule that way, NDI would respect the decision, Cheung said. “For us, it’s important to respect the election authority,” he said. “We just want to help educate.”

 

The National Election Com­mittee is in the process of deciding whether to give the go-ahead to a political party debate series planned by the National Demo­cratic In­sti­tute.

Technical officials met Thursday but have yet to reach a decision, ac­cording to NEC Secretary-Gen­eral Tep Nytha.

NDI intends to host 31 debates during the monthlong campaign period, said NDI Resident Country Director Jerome Cheung.

One de­bate in each province would be televised; the others would be broadcast on the radio.

The NDI wants to use an “equity” formula to determine which parties participate in those debates, Cheung said.

This would invite the four main political parties to all or most of the televised debates and would allow smaller parties access to one or two, depending on their representation level in the debate location. The NDI used a similar distribution system for their radio debate series in 2007, he added.

The Society of Justice Party, one of the 11 parties competing in the upcoming election, has complained that the NDI’s participation formula is unfair. Ban Sophal, president of the tiny SJP, said that an “equality” formula, which would give each party equal airtime, is mandated by election law.

“I do not want to block the debate, but I want the NDI-sponsored debate [to give access] equally by the election law,” he said Wed­nes­day.

Human Rights Party Vice Presi­dent Keo Remy also weighed in against the NDI’s formula. “It is unfair and it doesn’t abide by the election law,” he said. “We won’t file a complaint, but we might not take part.”

The NEC must make a decision, said Tep Nytha. “If one or two parties complain against it, it cannot go ahead,” he said.

“NDI should use an equality formula instead of an equity formula,” he added.

Should the NEC rule that way, NDI would respect the decision, Cheung said. “For us, it’s important to respect the election authority,” he said. “We just want to help educate.”

 

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