Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Voter registration slow: NEC



Voter registration slow: NEC

The National Election Comittee holds a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh to discuss voter registrations for next year’s national elections.
The National Election Comittee holds a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh to discuss voter registrations for next year’s national elections.

Voter registration slow: NEC

The National Election Committee yesterday said voter registration was progressing slower than expected, largely due to migrant workers not registering – an issue that advocates have urged the electoral body to remedy for months.

Following last year’s registration, where only 7.8 million of 9.6 million eligible voters were put on the electoral rolls, migrant rights advocates and election monitors asked the NEC to enable migrant workers to either register in their country of residence or along the Thailand border, which is home to more than a million Cambodian workers.

Both requests were turned down due to “legislative constraints”, with NEC head Sik Bun Hok lashing out at criticism that the electoral body was infringing on the rights of migrant workers.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha yesterday said registration booths were not receiving many people, largely due to tepid participation from migrant workers.

“If we look at all the names in the voter registry, people who can vote are about 9.8 million,” he said. “Therefore, this number is huge, but our registration gets only a small number of people.”

Nytha added that rain, lack of proper registration documents and people moving to new communes had contributed to the lethargic voter registration response, but refused any suggestion that the recent arrest of CNRP President Kem Sokha and related political developments had anything to do with it.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the process was going smoothly, despite the low turnout.

However, he said the United States had pulled its funding for the registration process – without giving exact details of this assistance – but said the national budget would be used to make up for the deficit.

“Though there is no aid [from the US], the government has already given enough money,” he said, adding that the absence of a “partner” would not hold back the process.

The US Embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday said that it had no comment at the time.

Election monitor Sam Kuntheamy said there was no coordination with workers abroad to enable them to come back and register in the country, let alone allowing them to register overseas.

Tep Nytha, he added, was only showing one side of the story and the current political climate was having a definite effect on the registration process.

“The political climate is also a large problem and creates a lot of fear, discourages people or makes them think their vote is not valuable,’’ Kuntheamy said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to