Watchdog groups question unusual number of 'proxy' registrations
and other irregularities
The National Election Committee said this week it will not extend the voter registration
period, although three voter watchdog groups complained about problems with deleting
voters from the lists.
The groups also said there were a "surprisingly high" number of new voters,
raising the possibility of multiple registrations by some voters.
The NEC reported that about 8.6 million Cambodians have registered to vote including
almost 900,000 new voters.
NEC said 664,796 voter names were deleted from the lists and 682,459 eligible voters
failed to register.
The three voter rights watchdog groups issued a joint statement October 26 saying
they had "serious concerns" about the deletion list."
The joint statement was issued by the Committee for Free and Fair Election in Cambodia
(Comfrel); the Neutral and Independent Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia (NICFEC);
and the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).
Voters are supposed to register in person. But the groups said that a "substantial
number of voters were registered by proxy as party agents, commune officials, military
police officers and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officers took their identity documents
and photographs and registered them as voters in connivance with registration officials."
It cited several locations where that happened in the provinces of Banteay Meancheay
and Steung Treng.
The statement said several voter registration stations did not comply with stipulated
working hours and either opened late or closed early.
They said the high number of new voters registered was "30 % more than originally
estimated by NEC." They raised questions about the possibility of "multiple
registration," and possible underage or non-Cambodian citizens being registered.
The Center for Social Development called for NEC to extend the registration process
by at least one more month in order to accommodate other potential voters to come
The changes in the list took place between September 15 and October 20 to reflect
deaths, migration and other changes in advance of the national elections in July
Tep Nytha, secretary general of NEC, said the process has been done according to
the law and NEC will not extend the registration and revision period.
"We were working according to the law and there was also participation from
the local election NGOs and political parties," Nytha said.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, president of the Sam Rainsy Party, in a letter to NEC
on October 23, called for a new meeting to examine the deletion of voter names in
241 commune councils, about 15 percent of the communes nationwide.
"Our party representative found that some of the commune councils did not respect
and implement the guidelines of the NEC and deleted the voter names without relevant
documents and evidence to prove lost voting rights," Rainsy wrote in his letter