A surge in voter registrations over the Pchum Ben holiday weekend pushed totals above 40 percent of eligible voters with just under two months to go before the deadline for next year’s commune elections, the National Elections Committee (NEC) said on Tuesday.
More than 160,000 voters registered on Sunday—the last day of the holiday, during which many people returned to their home villages—marking the largest single day of registrations since they began on September 1, the committee said in a statement.
A woman holds up her new identification card after registering to vote in Phnom Penh in September. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)In a meeting on Monday, the NEC’s president, Sik Bunhok, told E.U. Ambassador George Edgar that just over 4 million out of about 9.6 million eligible voters have registered under the new computerized system, funded largely by the E.U. This included 6,898 people missing one or both arms, meaning they were unable to give both thumbprints as usually required.
Forty-one complaints about registrations had been filed with the NEC, with 33 of them already resolved, it said.
“Most of the complaints were related to disruptions during the registration process, the movements of military personnel for registrations, and suspicions over registrants not being Cambodian,” NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said on Tuesday.
The opposition CNRP has complained of hundreds of military officers registering in communes where they neither worked nor lived—shipped in, allegedly, to boost CPP support in areas set for tight local elections. On Monday, the NEC acknowledged that 90 soldiers were improperly registered in Preah Vihear province, though Mr. Puthea argued that it would not be a problem if the soldiers were eventually assigned to provide security at the same polling station.
CNRP registration observers—stationed at almost every commune in the country—have also complained of mostly Vietnamese foreigners registering despite lacking citizenship papers.
Mr. Puthea said on Tuesday that the NEC was optimistic that all eligible voters would be registered by the November 29 deadline.
naren@cambodiadaily.com
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