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Voter sign-ups flawed: Comfrel

Voter sign-ups flawed: Comfrel

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People look for voters’ names on a list outside a polling booth in Kandal province during nationwide commune elections in June. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

A prominent election monitoring group is citing irregularities in voter registration and placing blame on the governmental body responsible for ensuring that the process is carried out smoothly.

Based on its preliminary report, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia claims that 250 observers in registration areas across the country saw officials for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party controlling the show.

“Actually, the council members from the opposition parties were blocked from joining the process of the update on voter registration because those council members have not registered as observers,” the press release stated. “At this time, NEC [National Election Committee] gets away for not being responsible [for this] and has not helped to facilitate with those related institutions.

Voter registration errors, the causes of which include migration and deaths in between voting cycles, had led to 130,000 incorrect listings that NEC officials said last month they planned to cancel.

In Ratanakkiri province, for instance, Comfrel alleged that a commune clerk charged from 50 cents to US$2.50 to potential registrants, but local officials intervened and the money was returned.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha dismissed the report, claiming that it described a period early in the month that Comfrel had not registered to observe.

Registration for the 2013 national election lasts for roughly six weeks, from September 1 to October 12.

The NEC invited more than 10 embassy representatives to attend a meeting yesterday intended “to inform international communities that they are working in our country and want to know about elections in country,” NEC Vice President Sin Chum Bo told reporters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

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