The National Election Committee (NEC) began the one month registration of voters
today, January 17. NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha estimated the election body
would register around 2 million people who were not on the voters' roll at last
year's commune elections.
"We have prepared our human resources, as well
as materials such as cameras, film, and educational leaflets explaining the
registration process," Nytha said. "We will have sufficient time to register the
2 million new voters."
He added that the NEC had already posted lists of
voters who were already registered in every commune. The majority of people
living in the provinces, he said, had already checked their names, but most of
those in the capital had not done so as they were generally
The NEC estimates that 6.8 million Cambodians are
eligible to vote, and that 5.1 million were already registered in the commune
elections. The body will set up 12,845 polling stations in the country's 1,621
communes for election day on July 27.
The executive director of election
monitor Comfrel, Koul Panha, said he had sent one observer to each of the 1,621
registration centers, and others to the country's districts to keep an eye on
the general political situation, and monitor intimidation and political
pressure. The other election monitoring NGO, Nicfec, is readying 3,000 of its
During his speech to mark the 24th anniversary of Victory Day
on January 7, the president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), Chea
Sim, appealed to all those eligible to examine the lists and register their
"We are now moving to 2003, which is the last year of the
government's term, with a strong determination to take over with a new victory,"
he said. The party would do its best to defend and strengthen peace, stability
and security, and would oppose acts that could destabilize Cambodia.