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Migrants trickle back to vote

MORE than 100 Cambodian migrant workers this week have crossed back from Thailand into Cambodia to vote in the upcoming election, Banteay Meanchey provincial officials said.

At least 100 workers crossing through the Poipet International Border Office said that they were returning specifically to vote, Poipet governor Ngor Meng Chroun said.

Police also were aware of some cases of illegal migrants returning to vote, although they could not estimate how many were crossing because these workers did not to go through official checkpoints, he said.

“No one is forcing them to vote, but they volunteer to come back to vote for the national benefit,” he said.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of migrant workers would not be able to return for the election, he said.

“Only if they are willing and have jobs that allow them to take time off can they return,” he said.

Banteay Meanchey provincial spokesman Ouk Keo Ratanak said that the Cambodian and Thai border offices had been working together to make it easy for Cambodian migrant workers to return to vote.

He added that it was likely many more would cross the border in the coming week.

Kun Banraing, 36, a construction worker who had just crossed through the Poipet border checkpoint from Thailand, said yesterday that he had managed to convince his employer to let him take a holiday so he could return to his Takeo province home and vote.

“I will vote for my country, and I can also take this time to visit my family,” he said.

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