The National Election Committee claims to have signed up more than half a million people in its first four days of voter registration.
The registration period, which began on Thursday and ends on December 1, requires more than 100,000 Cambodian citizens to be registered each day.
As of midday yesterday, that process appeared to be on track, with a total of 537,637 voters registered out of a total 9.6 million. The NEC also announced it will work on Sunday, October 2, during the Pchum Ben holiday in a bid to complete the mammoth task, a move for which the opposition had vocally lobbied.
However, the opposition’s two most senior leaders are currently blocked from registering. CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said the judicial crackdown on both Sam Rainsy, in self-exile in Paris to avoid jail time, and Kem Sokha, holed up in party headquarters avoiding arrest, restricted them from registering to vote in Cambodia and their time was running out.
“By law, [Rainsy] has to physically be here, that’s why . . . the conflict that exists today will have to be resolved,” Sochua said.
Ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said the CNRP appeal to the international community would prove “useless” and denied any government involvement in the cases against the CNRP leadership.
Meanwhile, in Kampong Cham province, a retired commune councillor of the now-defunct Funcinpec party was arrested for wearing epaulets with insignia of rank while sitting at a voter registration station.
Pin That, 65, was arrested at 8am yesterday morning in Arak Tnort commune, Stung Trang district, and is expected to be sent to court for allegedly breaching Article 612 of the Criminal Code, which forbids wearing a uniform designated for a public official.