SRP: Legitimate Voters Being Disenfranchised

The SRP filed new complaints with the National Election Commit­tee on Tuesday claiming that the names of legitimate voters in 66 communes were removed from the 2008 national election registration list, officials said.

Keo Phalla, director of legal services for the NEC, said the NEC may not officially review the SRP’s complaints as they were submitted after an Oct 23 deadline for party complaints involving the deletion of names of voters that do not exist—commonly referred to a “ghost voters.” “We are checking them, but maybe we won’t review them,” he said.

Keo Phalla added that the 2008 election will cost the country over $16 million and the government has agreed to pick up 60 percent of the bill, while the remaining 40 percent will hopefully be paid for by aid donor countries.

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said the NEC must review their complaints even if the deadline has passed.

“What the NEC is doing is avoiding responsibility,” he said. “We don’t trust this election,” he added.

Three election monitoring groups—the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair El­ections in Cambodia, and the US-bas­ed National Democratic Institute—is­sued a joint statement Friday giving the NEC a mixed review.

The organizations said that they had monitored the voter registration process in 360 communes and that they were pleased with the minimal reports of intimidation and threats during the process. But they ex­pressed concern with the NEC procedure regarding ghost voters.

“We are seriously concerned about the deletion of lists [of voters’ names] without the required documentation,” the statement said.

Tep Nytha, NEC secretary-general, defended the registration pro­cess, saying the NEC followed clear legal procedures and included Comfrel, Nicfec and NDI in the process.

During April’s commune election, the same organizations complained that the registered voters list had too many ghost names, Tep Nytha said. “If we keep the names, we are blamed. If we delete the names we are blamed,” he added.


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