NEC Hearing Grants 4 Women Voting Rights

In its second public hearing of a voter registration dispute, the National Election Committee on Thursday ordered a Phnom Penh commune to register four women who had earlier been denied.

The five NEC members re­viewed the women’s documents and determined that they met the legal requirements for voting.

“I ordered the commune clerk to register them,” NEC Chairman Im Suosdey said. “Before, they apparently didn’t present their commune election passes, but now they showed them to us.”

The four Tuol Svay Prey I commune women, Sorn Horm, Chheam Savay, Boeung Pisey and Vorn Chante, were turned down when they tried to register on Jan 26 on the grounds that they could not prove their Cam­bo­dian nationality. During Thurs­day’s hearing, they showed the NEC the identity cards they used to vote in last year’s commune elections.

Ly Pou, the commune chief, claimed that the four didn’t show the cards to the commune clerk when they first tried to register but instead presented only a certificate of residency. “If they had shown [the commune election voting pass] on that day, we would have registered them,” Ly Pou said.

But Kuoy Bunroeun, the Sam Rainsy Party official who helped the four women bring their complaint to the NEC, claimed the problem was political, not technical. Ly Pou denied this allegation.

Even if they are not politically biased, many commune clerks are not doing enough to help voters understand the new registration process, Kuoy Bunroeun claimed.

“The commune clerk…only told them they didn’t have enough evidence,” he said.



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