The government’s election body has said it has no intention of revising the country’s voter list, a request that was delivered in a petition to government representatives at an opposition rally held last week by the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
In response to the CNRP’s request that the National Election Commission (NEC) delay July’s national elections in order to hold a new registration period for eligible voters and revise the official voter list, the NEC said in a statement on Friday that it has no plans to open the voter list to further scrutiny.
“As for making the new voter list, the NEC could not accept this because the laws stipulate that after the voter list has come into effect, you cannot register again,” the statement says.
The voter lists for the upcoming national ballot were initially created during a registration period from September 1 to October 2. Once completed, they were distributed at commune offices from October 18 to 21 so that local residents could confirm their registration and file complaints if they found mistakes in their name or address. The NEC then released a final version of the voter list on December 31.
An audit of the voter list conducted by the National Democratic Institute and released in March found that 1 in 10 people who are registered for the elections do not exist and 9 percent of past voters have been taken off voter rolls unfairly.
Mu Sochua, a CNRP candidate for the National Assembly in Battambang province, said yesterday that her party would follow through on its promise to hold an even larger rally than last week’s demonstration, which drew about 2,000 supporters, if the NEC fails to follow their demands.
“We stand by what we said. I can assure there will be more mass protests, and it will be bigger than the last one,” she said, adding that CNRP leaders would meet on May 3 to discuss how to respond to the NEC’s statement.
Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that it is not necessary to delay the elections in order to ensure that they are fair, but that the NEC needs to allow for a revision of the voter list if the election is to be legitimate.
“The NEC should work harder and take action to post voter lists at village level and invite villagers to check names again,” he said.
Tep Nytha, secretary-general of the NEC, said that if people did not file complaints about the voter lists in October, it was too late.