Registration Hits 92 Percent

The four-week voter registration drive for the upcoming election ended Monday with 92 percent of eligible voters registered, election officials said.

About 4.7 million people were signed up and given voter registration cards for the July 26 poll, said National Election Committee spokesman Leng Sochea.

As for complaints of irregularities and intimidation, Leng So­chea told Agence France-Presse, there were “only a few cases and these have been dealt with by authorities.”

Although no major incidents of violence were reported, there were several allegations of cheating and intimidation by the CPP.

The US-based National Demo­cratic Institute has des­cribed voter registration as having gone fairly well, but also declared that conditions for a “competitive election” do not exist.

“The NEC appears to have been receptive to complaints and willing to consider improvements to the registration process,” the group said in a Friday statement.

The statement said institute observers had noted Cambo­dians’ apparent eagerness to register. But it warned that “essential elements”—such as media ac­cess—have yet to be established in Cam­­bodia.

Opposition figure Sam Rainsy, however, called the registration process “hopelessly flawed and terribly biased” in favor of the CPP. In a statement issued Mon­day, Sam Rainsy asserted that the NEC’s figures could not be trusted and that little effort had been made to register those who are loyal to the opposition.

Labor leaders have repeatedly complained that garment workers have experienced difficulties at registration centers and getting time off from their workplaces.

An official with the human rights group Adhoc on Monday said that 400 factory workers in Kandal province had not yet registered because employers had threatened to fire them.

The Adhoc official said that a request to the NEC to extend registration by one day in Kandal to accommodate the workers was denied.

(Reporting by Kay Johnson and Lor Chandara)

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