First Week of Election Registration Criticized

Cambodia’s Funcinpec party and the US political advocacy group International Republican Institute blasted the first week of voter registration on Friday, claiming violations of the election law are occurring nationwide.

In the past week, Funcinpec said it has received reports from provincial party offices listing “serious incidents” in the voter registration process that could result in low electoral registrations.

“The latter will of course affect the outcome of the election and the outcome itself will not respond to a principle of democratic, free, fair, just and transparent elections,” Funcinpec said in a statement.

Funcinpec called on the Na­tional Election Committee to take action and end the violations by commune officials charged with implementing the registration process.

According to the 11-point Fun­cinpec statement, demands for additional identification documents are being made by commune officials even when eligible voters show appropriate documentation.

Funcinpec also called on the NEC to ensure commune officials delegate powers to others when they are absent from the registration center.

The party called on the NEC to facilitate the registration of Buddhist monks, and an end to commune officials registering voters by village, which only allows a registration window-period of one to five days rather than the legal 30-day registration period, Fun­cinpec said.

In the first of three pre-election assessments, the IRI said on Fri­day that an additional one to two million voters are expected to register this year.

“IRI is troubled that the electoral bureaucracy is not genuinely independent, but is under the control of one political party from the national level down to the communes,” IRI said.

“This problem is further exacerbated by the location of some registration offices adjoining CPP offices and the reliance on CPP village and commune chiefs to communicate registration information to voters.”

The Sam Rainsy Party has registered similar complaints in the past week.



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