New Voter Registration Brings Total of Voters to Eight Million

The National Election Commit­tee on Tuesday announced the near complete results of the voter re­gistration period for the 2008 na­tio­nal election, which ended Sat­urday.

Barring the results from nine communes that have yet to be tabulated, a total of 893,131 voters registered in the latest registration period, bringing the nationwide total to 8,027,706—an increase of 228,335 voters from last year, according to results issued by the NEC.

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said that the NEC had addressed the controversial issue of ghost voters, saying that the NEC will retain 79,688 of the 664,796 names that had been slated for deletion from the voter list. An additional 90,000-plus people re­moved their names voluntarily from the voter list because they had moved out of their communes, Tep Nytha said.

“The election process cannot be delayed any further,” he said, adding that voters who have been wrongly removed from the NEC list have until Nov 10 to complain to commune officials.

SRP lawmaker Kuy Bunroeun said during the press conference that many people still need to be registered and reiterated the SRP’s claim that 15,000 people in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet commune were illegally registered by political party officials and not by the voters themselves.

Tep Nytha responded that the NEC investigated the SRP claim and found no evidence to support it.

The NEC also issued a statement Tuesday stating that a total of 1,091 local observers and 27 ob­servers from the US-based Na­tion­al Democratic Institute and the US Embassy had been accredited for the 2008 elections.

Koul Panha, director of the Com­mit­tee for Free and Fair Elections, said that usually international observers begin to register several weeks before the election campaign begins, but added that he does not expect as many as in the previous elections.

“Cambodia’s election is no long­er a priority for international ob­servers because there are many other countries that are holding elec­tions, such as Thailand,” he said.

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