Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voter registration hits 94 percent

Voter registration hits 94 percent

Voter registration hits 94 percent

A total of 6.34 million Cambodians are registered to cast their votes in the July

27 general election. The National Election Committee (NEC) issued its final voters

list on April 27 showing that just under 94 percent of the eligible population has

registered.

The chairman of the NEC, Im Suosdey, told a gathering of Provincial Election Committee

officials at the Ministry of Interior that the exercise had proved successful.

"The number of voters this year has increased when compared to 2002," he

told the officials at the end of a three-day training session. "The achievement

of a voter registration close to 94 percent is attributable to hard work from all

of us."

Suosdey said the figure was commendable, despite the fact that it was slightly below

the rate of 98 percent attained in 1998. He pointed out that it was better than the

February 2002 commune elections when 83 percent signed up.

Although the NEC expressed its satisfaction with the list, the US-based International

Republican Institute (IRI) said it was concerned the body had ruled against numerous

complaints of violations of the electoral law.

Among the examples it gave were that people below the legal voting age of 18 were

allowed to register, non-citizens had registered, and commune clerks had applied

the registration requirements inconsistently.

The IRI conducted a series of pre-election assessments between April 23 and 28 in

the capital and seven provinces. It expressed fears that widespread intimidation

at the local level had already begun. That coincided with concerns voiced by several

political parties and human rights groups that intimidation and vote buying - common

occurrences in previous elections - have started.

"Voters have received threats from village chiefs and local authorities that

retaining their jobs or their land is linked to their support for [the ruling Cambodian

People's Party]," the IRI wrote.

The election monitor called on the government and the NEC to alleviate fears about

both the political environment and the administration of the election in the two

months that remain before campaigning begins on June 26. It stated that recent high-profile

assassinations, murders, attempted murders and serious assaults would undermine political

participation at all levels.

Koul Panha, the executive director of Comfrel, an election monitoring NGO, said his

organization would audit the official voters list to ensure it was acceptable to

all stakeholders. The four-week process will begin at the end of this month, when

Comfrel receives the official list from the NEC.

"At the moment we have no comment to make about whether the voters list is transparent

or not," he said. "But if the audit finds the list is substantially different

[from reality], then the upcoming election will suffer."

Panha said Comfrel was ready to send 400 statistics experts to communes where there

were suspicions that irregularities had taken place. He added that agents of political

parties had complained of 94 cases in which around 10,000 people were unable to register.

All of those complaints were rejected by the NEC.

ï Yet another opposition legislator has left the party for Funcinpec. Sam Sundoeun,

who was the Sam Rainsy Party's MP for Kandal province, told the media on May 7 that

the SRP was undemocratic.

The opposition leader shrugged of the latest in a series of tit-for-tat defections,

saying Sundoeun was unhappy that he had not garnered the candidacy he wanted.

 

Breakdown of potential and registered

voters by province and municipality for 2003 election

 
 
 
 
 
Province/
Of voting
Number
Percent
Polling
Municipality
age
registered
registered
stations
 
 
 
 
 
Banteay Meanchey
347,803
307,811
88.50
664
Batta mbang
490,482
416,763
84.97
896
Kampong Cham
927,376
884,476
95.37
1,858
Kampong Chhnang
228,296
222,276
97.36
459
Kampong Speu
344,860
339,583
98.47
638
Kampong Thom
328,919
300,588
91.39
643
Kampot
293,585
277,507
94.52
544
Kandal
666,567
636,936
95.55
1,180
Koh Kong
70,414
63,777
90.57
147
Kratie
156,771
134,491
85.79
292
Mondolkiri
21,362
18,642
87.27
57
Phnom Penh
594,651
579,205
97.40
984
Preah Vihear
65,754
65,115
99.03
141
Prey Veng
601,489
548,480
91.19
1,127
Pursat
191,281
185,759
97.11
391
Ratanakkiri
54,650
51,969
95.09
117
Siem Reap
388,332
349,697
90.05
732
Sihanoukville
89,158
80,499
90.29
163
Stung Treng
45,064
43,285
96.05
100
Svay Rieng
289,347
278,808
96.36
571
Takeo
452,950
458,877
101.31
904
Kep
16,044
16,926
105.50
33
Pailin
22,375
22,934
102.50
43
Oddar Meanchey
62,346
57,430
92.11
142
 
 
 
 
 
Total
6,749,876
6,341,834
93.95
12,826
 

 

 

 

 

Source: NEC, 27 April 2003.

 

 

 

 

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