SRP Wants Simpler Voter Registration for 2008

The SRP has urged the Na­tio­nal Election Committee to scrap its method of registering voters, claim­ing it is excessively complicated, subject to political interference and that it disenfranchised several hundred thousand potential voters in the April 1 commune elections.

In a letter to NEC President Im Suosdey this month, Sam Rainsy said the so-called 1018 forms should be scrapped and replaced with ba­sic Interior Ministry ID cards to en­sure that potential voters can cast their ballost in the 2008 national elections.

“The 1018 form has caused a lot of headaches for Cambo­dians,” SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua said Tuesday. She added that at least 250,000 people may have been pre­vented from voting in April due to complications with the forms. Elec­tion monitors have said that vot­er apathy as well as a complex regis­tra­tion process may have caused the record low voter turnout in April.

Cambodia’s commune chiefs, the majority of whom are CPP, are responsible for issuing 1018 forms, and it is therefore often difficult for opposition supporters to obtain them, Sam Rainsy wrote. “The commune authorities discriminate, which meant that thousands of people failed to vote,” he wrote on June 9. Voters also need photos of themselves to fill out the 1018 form, which can be extremely hard to come by in rural Cambodia, SRP officials said.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said Tuesday that the 1018 forms cannot be scrapped.

“If commune chiefs denied the forms to people who met all the relevant requirements, they would face complaints,” he said last week.

People only need to obtain the 1018 forms if they do not have photographic proof of identity such as a passport or family book, he added.

Commune chiefs, regardless of their political affiliation, do not know who people will vote for and therefore cannot use the distribution of the 1018 forms as a political weap­ons, Tep Nytha said. “No one knows who will vote for whom.”


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