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National polls ‘to proceed as normal despite floods’

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The National Election Committee has said that the July 29 polls will proceed as scheduled though some provinces were flooded. AFP

National polls ‘to proceed as normal despite floods’

The National Election Committee (NEC) on Thursday said that the July 29 polls will proceed as scheduled, although some provinces were still inundated with floods.

NEC spokesperson Doem Sovannarum said that as of Wednesday it had not received any reports concerning the inundation of polling stations.

But even if there is flooding, he said, the elections will still proceed at 22,967 polling stations throughout the country.

Ratanakkiri Provincial Election Committee (PEC) head Ben Chhundy said the rising water in the Se San river had not affected polling stations in the province.

“The water in the Sesan River increased sharply but has not flooded polling stations. However, flooded roads have caused difficulty for travelling. The rain keeps pouring down, making roads slippery,” Chhundy said.

Ratanakkiri has a total of 275 polling stations, he added.

Koh Kong PEC head Seng Neng said on Wednesday that floods have affected traffic in the province, but polling stations remained safe.

“There’s no effect or any change of location in the 182 polling stations. Despite heavy rain in my region, all polling stations will operate as they are placed at safe locations,” he said.

Sovannarom reiterated that in the event of a natural disaster, the NEC wold respond in accordance with election laws.

“We are waiting for reports from the provinces. If there is flood disaster, we’re prepared to act according to electoral procedures.

“When we updated the voter registration list last year and decided on the number of polling stations and locations, we also predicted disturbance.

“The NEC has experience organising elections in the rainy season, so we can proceed smoothly throughout the country,” Sovannarom said.

Battambang PEC head Vorn Thorn said floodwaters in the province had subsided significantly and that polling stations remained safe though roads leading to them are covered with some mud.

Kampong Cham PEC head Meang Meng Huon said as of Wednesday, there was no flooding in the province although waters continued to rise.

In Tbong Khmum province, flooding has created difficulty in travelling and for the transportation of ballot papers to polling stations.

However, Tbong Khmum PEC head Sok Chhin said the polling stations were not affected. Chhin said the PEC’s working groups may transport ballot papers to the polling stations via boats.

Responding to concerns, CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan said naturally, there is some effect on the polling process. But if any location is affected, he said, polling stations will be moved to safer locations.

“Some polling stations are affected, but they will be moved to higher ground. A small number of affected polling stations cannot be considered a basis [for a change of schedule],” he said.

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