F’pec Criticizes Registration

Funcinpec officials charged electoral staff Monday with deliberately excluding opposition supporters from voter registration, joining a chorus of protests ag­ainst the registration process.

The royalist party claimed that entire villages believed to support the opposition were ex­cluded from voter registration and that thousands of ineligible voters, including ethnic Vietnamese, are being registered by CPP-sympathetic elections officials.

“In Takeo province, there was a high-ranking official who brought his child, who is known to be under 15 years of age, to be registered,” party Secretary-General Tol Lah said Monday. “When our observer objected, he brought out two witnesses to testify that his child is eligible to vote.”

The electoral law says voters must be at least 18 years old.

Pok Than, a Funcinpec parlia­men­tarian representing Takeo, claimed Monday that 80 registration centers in areas believed to be anti-government had been dropped from the Provincial Election Commission registration list. The new list excluded 99 villages with 37,644 voters, he said.

“The case of Takeo…is obvious evidence of the intentional and premeditated acts of systematic elimination of voters,” a Funcin­pec statement said.

Pok Than said the discrepancies were reported to the NEC, which investigated. “I have heard some villages and registration centers have been restored, but some others are not,” he said.

NEC spokesman Leng Sochea confirmed Monday the committee was investigating complaints it had received from Funcinpec.

Funcinpec also complained their rivals are helping ethnic Vietnamese register. “There are a number of ethnic Vietnamese disguising themselves with Khmer names on CPP membership cards,” Tol Lah said. “It is regrettable that Cambodian people are being discouraged to register, but in contrast those of foreign origin are being offered guidance.”

Ethnic minorities are eligible to vote if they can prove they and a parent were born in Cambodia.

Birth certificates, passports, State of Cambodia identification cards and government-issued “family books” all can be used to prove “Khmer nationality,” or two already-registered voters may vouch for their nationality, election regulations say.

Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy Par­­ty supporters have complained that CPP officials are issuing false identification papers or vouching for non-eligible minorities. Ethnic Vietnamese are be­lieved to generally favor the CPP.

Nguyen Ngoc Sanh, president of the Vietnamese Association in Kampuchea, didn’t comment on Funcinpec’s statement, but said his association opposes the re­gistration of anyone not eligible.

Vietnamese were targets in 1993 violence, with more than 100 killed and 8,000 forced to flee.

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