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Election monitor calls for voter list reforms

Election monitor calls for voter list reforms

LOCAL election monitor Comfrel has called on the National Election Committee (NEC) to reform the system of voter registration to ensure all eligible voters are able to cast their ballots in the 2012 commune council elections and 2013 national elections.

According to a report issued by Comfrel Thursday, 440,000 eligible voters, most of whom voted in the 2003 national election, could not cast their ballots in last July's national elections because they were unable to find their names on voter lists or locate the correct polling stations.

"We found irregularities after the July 2008 election and call for the NEC to make reforms in order to ensure that eligible voters' right to cast their ballots without unnecessary obstacles or difficulties is upheld," Comfrel executive director Koul Panha told the Post Thursday.

He said the report's findings would be submitted to parliamentarians, political parties and the NEC.

The report, based on surveys of 8,678 eligible voters in all 24 provinces and municipalities, found that the names and addresses of 18.5 percent had disappeared from the voter lists during the 2008 election.

Tep Nytha, secretary general of NEC, said Thursday that he had not yet received an official report on voter lists and registration, but he said the NEC would study the report and evaluate possible methods for improving the election process.

"We cannot accept all the requests made by civil society groups because they are far beyond the ability of the NEC," he said.

But Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) lawmaker Kouy Bunroeun said the government, the NEC and political parties must have the "political" will to amend the law in order to improve the election process.

In last year's national election, the ruling Cambodian People's Party won 90 of the National Assembly's 123 seats. The SRP took 26 seats, the Human Rights Party three seats and the Norodom Ranariddh Party and Funcinpec two seats each.

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