The SRP has asked the National Election Committee to annul the voter registration process in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet commune claiming that thousands of people were registered by political party officials rather than doing so on their own.
Days before the registration process is set to close on Saturday, the SRP complained that of the more than 19,000 people registered in Poipet, only 4,000 came in person to register as stipulated by law.
Party officials registered the other roughly 15,000 people, according to a Tuesday letter signed by Deputy SRP President Kong Korm and addressed to NEC President Im Suosdey.
“Because it is difficult to separate who came to register and who was registered by party officials, I ask your Excellency to annul the registration,” read the letter.
Tep Nytha, NEC secretary-general, said Wednesday that the committee is investigating the matter, though he was curious why the SRP was alone in their complaint.
“I wonder why NGO monitors and other parties didn’t claim irregularities,” he said, adding that it was suspicious to wait until registration was nearly over to raise the issue. “We cannot annul the registration without concrete evidence,” he added.
SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua said Thursday that her party had eyewitnesses in Poipet who saw officials bring registration forms to the office that had been pre-signed by a commune chief.
“How can we be confident in the national elections of 2008 with a voter list that has started like this?” she asked.
She said the timing of their complaint is not an issue. “[Voter registration] is not over yet,” she said, adding that the fact that other groups did not detect the irregularities calls into question the monitoring systems that are in place.
Puthea Hang, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free Elections in Cambodia, said that Nicfec noted the same type of irregularities reported by the SRP. The Poipet registration process needs to be started afresh, he said.