Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP questions prakas on voter registration

CNRP questions prakas on voter registration

An official processes a person’s identification card at a voter registration office in Phnom Penh in September. The CNRP have questioned recent changes to the registration process.
An official processes a person’s identification card at a voter registration office in Phnom Penh in September. The CNRP have questioned recent changes to the registration process. Pha Lina

CNRP questions prakas on voter registration

The Cambodia National Rescue Party sent a letter on Monday to Interior Minister Sar Kheng asking for clarification on a recently amended prakas that now requires eligible voters to get a police verification letter before a commune chief can attest to their place of residence, thereby enabling them to register for next year’s election.

Last year, the Interior Ministry allowed eligible voters to register for the June 4 local elections in their commune of current residence, at the time empowering the commune chief to provide a letter of residence if the voter could produce one witness to attest to their resident status.

However, on August 14 the prakas was amended to now require eligible voters to first register their address with the local police, then get a letter confirming their residence, after which they can approach the commune chief to register. The prakas also now requires a prospective voter to have lived in a commune for at least 30 days before enrolling.

The CNRP says the amendments come only after their significant success at the commune elections.

The CNRP has 489 commune chiefs across the country to the CPP’s 1,156. The prakas changes were made just weeks before the registration process for next year’s elections starts on September 1.

“In the past, when the CNRP did not have commune chiefs, it was the commune chief who gave the residence letter. But now that the CNRP has 489 commune chiefs, the important responsibility for the election registration is transferred to the police,” said CNRP lawmaker Ky Vandara, one of six to sign the letter.

The letter was submitted to the National Assembly’s secretariat and will be forwarded to Sar Kheng only if it is first approved by Assembly President Heng Samrin.

“We have received the letter, and I am preparing to submit it to Samdech [Heng Samrin]. But I don’t know when Samdech will decide,” said parliament spokesman Leng Peng Long.

Additionally, the letter also seeks clarification on a few instances where district officials required NGOs to seek permission from the district chief before commencing election-related activities.

It also asks about two specific requests pertaining to the capital’s Sen Sok district – the transfer of power from the commune chiefs to district officials in order to officiate a transfer of property, and the district’s appointment of 19 contract officials without consulting the commune council.

Hang Puthea, spokesman for the National Election Committee (NEC), said the body was still studying the new prakas and that it had received concerns the new rules would complicate the registration process.
The NEC has already received criticism for its refusal to facilitate registration and overseas voting processes for migrant workers.

Yoeung Sotheara, legal officer for election monitor Comfrel, said the biggest issue with the new directive was a lack of awareness among the electorate, who are currently only aware of last year’s procedures.
“Some people will not know this. They just know that in order to register for voting, they just bring along a witness and then they can register,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and