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Opposition lawmakers fear non-Cambodians are registering to vote

Three SRP politicians yesterday stonewalled  a conference on voter registration results organised by the Committee for Free and Fair Elections (Comfrel), complaining that Vietnamese citizens had been allowed to register to vote.

The alleged enrolment of Vietnamese citizens showed there was “no effectiveness in the working [of the NEC]” the SRP’s Kuoy Bunroeun said.

Announced voter registration numbers were more than 192 per cent above the prediction of the National Election Committee for the 2012 commune-district elections.

“The NEC’s estimate is completely wrong,” Kuoy Bunroeun said.

“This shows 100 per cent that there is no true mechanism to ensure the effectiveness of the process of free and fair elections.”

The SRP’s concern was that non-Cambodian citizens were being allowed to register to vote, Comfrel president Koul Panha clarified.

“But Comfrel has found that the ethnic Vietnamese who registered to vote have all the necessary citizenship papers,” Koul Panha told the Post.

“It is always a big controversy whenever there is an election, but you cannot do anything about it because they [the ethnic Vietnamese] have documents signed by the authorities saying that they are Cambodian citizens.

Koul Panha echoed concerns that the registered number of voters was so far off the NEC’s prediction.

“The number is surprisingly high if you consider all the flooding and natural disaster that has swept the country,” he said.

“We think it may be the case that some voters have registered at two places because people have migrated and there is no current system  . . . to delete the duplicate names.”

NEC secretary-general  Tep Nitha conceded the registration number was high and there was  probably  a fair degree of doubling-up by voters.

“The number of registrations is on the rise, but when we total the lists of overlapping names, we still expect the numbers to be increased maybe 103 to 105 per cent on the prediction. We cannot avoid small problems happening.”

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