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Overseas Khmer Can Vote Under U.N. Electoral Law

Overseas Khmer Can Vote Under U.N. Electoral Law

(AP)-Under the new U.N. election law, overseas Cambodians wishing to vote in next

year's election must register in Cambodia but can cast ballots in North America,

Europe or Australia, a U.N. spokesman said last week.

Yasushi Akashi, the head of the U.N. Transitional Authority in Cambodia, signed the

law Aug. 12 after the U.N. Secretary-General approved it, spokesman Eric Falt said.

The election is to be held by May 1993.

Many thousands of Cambodians settled in North America, Europe and Australia after

fleeing their country during the last two decades of conflict.

Thousands of others remain at refugee camps in Thailand. The United Nations is supposed

to repatriate all the refugees by the end of this year in time to register for the

election.

Any refugees who cannot be repatriated by then probably will be bused across the

border to register, then returned to the Thai camps, said Sergio Vieira de Mello,

a senior official of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Three resistance groups-followers of Prince Sihanouk, former Prime Minister Son Sann,

and the Khmer Rouge-and the Phnom Penh government agreed to the U.N.-organized election

in the peace accord signed last October.

The election is to install a 120-member National Assembly which will adopt a new

constitution and form a government.

The U.N. election law was written in consultation with the Supreme National Council,

which groups leaders of the four Cambodian factions.

The law says voters must be Cambodians who are at least 18 years old by the end of

voter registration.

The law prohibits political parties from using as their symbols a portrait of

Prince Norodom Sihanouk or the temples of Angkor.

Any group of at least 5,000 registered voters can form a party.

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