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Tensions cited as threat to voter registration

Election administrator Rong Chhun speaks during a press conference yesterday at the National Election Committee office in Phnom Penh.
Election administrator Rong Chhun speaks during a press conference yesterday at the National Election Committee office in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Tensions cited as threat to voter registration

A National Election Committee member yesterday warned ongoing political tension could threaten its efforts to register Cambodia’s 9.6 million voters before the end of next month.

Speaking at a press conference to report on the registration drive’s progress, NEC member Rong Chhun said he was concerned about the impact of ongoing tensions between the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, adding he hoped the parties would build on a so-called ceasefire, announced before Pchum Ben.

“The heat seemed to fall from 90 degrees to 80 degrees,” he said of the political climate. “We want the heat to fall to zero degrees. We want politicians to sit together to find a solution to make sure all politicians of all parties are present when it comes to voting.”

Meanwhile, Chhun also listed rain, broken computers, poor internet and inexperienced staff as among other challenges faced by staff at the registration offices. Chhun said about 54 percent of eligible voters had been enrolled in the new system so far, though the recent rains had caused a slowdown.

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