Local Officials Refuse Complaints Of Blocked Voter Registration

Commune officials at a Phnom Penh relocation site Friday refused to accept complaints of hundreds of recently evicted villagers who say they have been blocked from registering for the commune elections, an SRP lawmaker said.

Friday was the last day for people to complain about the process and make a final bid to get registered to vote.

SRP officials and rights workers say more than 3,000 eligible voters evicted from central Phnom Penh to Dangkao district’s Kouk Roka commune have been blocked from registering this month because they cannot prove they are Cambo­dians, or lack proof of residency.

Villagers evicted to the commune’s Andong village brought 372 complaints to the commune office Friday morning, said SRP lawmaker Ho Van, who was present at the scene.

“The commune chief refused to accept the complaints on Friday morning. And then both the commune chief and the commune clerk did not stay at the commune office on Friday afternoon,” he claimed.

Ho Van said that he finally sub­mit­­ted the complaints to a deputy commune chief from Funcinpec at around 4 pm, but they lacked a stamp from the commune clerk need­ed to make them official.

Several observers have claimed that CPP officials may be trying to dis­enfranchise evicted residents because they may vote SRP.

Ou Virak, spokesman for the Cam­bodian Center for Human Rights, said that Kouk Roka commune officials’ treatment of villagers attempting to file complaints was “very irresponsible.”

But Kouk Roka commune chief Ung Savun, a CPP official, said he was at his office all day Friday, and that he could not accept villagers’ complaints because he received them after the 2 pm deadline.

He added that more than 400 members of the 1,800 relocated fam­ilies had successfully registered to vote, but that most lacked adequate documentation.

“A lot of those villagers do not even have old documents from the previous location where they lived,” he added.

Phan Keo Mono, an official at the NEC’s public information bureau, could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.



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