Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voter registration kicks off

Voter registration kicks off

Voter registration kicks off

The National Election Committee (NEC) began the one month registration of voters

today, January 17. NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha estimated the election body

would register around 2 million people who were not on the voters' roll at last

year's commune elections.

"We have prepared our human resources, as well

as materials such as cameras, film, and educational leaflets explaining the

registration process," Nytha said. "We will have sufficient time to register the

2 million new voters."

He added that the NEC had already posted lists of

voters who were already registered in every commune. The majority of people

living in the provinces, he said, had already checked their names, but most of

those in the capital had not done so as they were generally

better-informed.

The NEC estimates that 6.8 million Cambodians are

eligible to vote, and that 5.1 million were already registered in the commune

elections. The body will set up 12,845 polling stations in the country's 1,621

communes for election day on July 27.

The executive director of election

monitor Comfrel, Koul Panha, said he had sent one observer to each of the 1,621

registration centers, and others to the country's districts to keep an eye on

the general political situation, and monitor intimidation and political

pressure. The other election monitoring NGO, Nicfec, is readying 3,000 of its

observers.

During his speech to mark the 24th anniversary of Victory Day

on January 7, the president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), Chea

Sim, appealed to all those eligible to examine the lists and register their

names.

"We are now moving to 2003, which is the last year of the

government's term, with a strong determination to take over with a new victory,"

he said. The party would do its best to defend and strengthen peace, stability

and security, and would oppose acts that could destabilize Cambodia.

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