NEC Reinstates Voter Eligibility After Removal

The National Election Committee made 1,138 Phnom Penh voters re-eligible to vote last week after the names of the Stung Meanchey commune residents were wrongly re­moved as “ghost” voters.

Those additional voters will bring the total voter list in the upcoming national election up to 8,125,529, the NEC announced Thursday.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha acknowledged last week that reinstating the Stung Meanchey voters this late violates the election law, however the decision was made in order to respect the rights of voters.

He blamed the deletion of the names on commune-level errors triggered by voters who changed their names and addresses, which led to “loopholes” in the registration system.

“We are continuing to investigate the reasons for the mistakes,” Tep Nytha said.

Stung Meanchey commune chief Seng Sanh declined to comment, but commune clerk Sam Soksen said, “It was a technical mistake from one person to another,” referring to the transfer of information from the commune to the NEC.

SRP lawmaker Kuy Bunroeun said under the law, names cannot be added to the voter list within 90 days of the election, and that the commune officials should be punished.

The NEC will recruit nearly 100,000 election employees to work for four days during the polling period in late July, Tep Nytha said Sunday. The National Democratic Insti­tute is also assisting in the election preparations with an upcoming election monitor training session.

About 90 monitors from the Human Rights Party, Hang Dara Democratic Movement Party, Khmer Democratic Party, League for Democracy Party, Khmer Anti-Poverty Party and the Khmer Republican Party will participate, NDI said. The four largest parties—CPP, Funcinpec, the Norodom Ranariddh Party and the SRP—participated in a similar NDI session last month.

More than 100,000 political party agents observed the 2007 commune election polling process, and there will likely be a comparable number observing the upcoming elec­tion, NDI Resident Country Director Jerome Cheung said.

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