NEC Slams Comfrel Voter Registration Report

The National Election Commit­tee Friday slammed a voter registration assessment by the Com­mittee for Free and Fair Elections, claiming the election monitor “caused considerable damage” by underestimating the total number of Cambodians who signed up to vote in the July general election.

“The NEC regrets that Comf­rel, while working with the same available statistics, has managed to misrepresent the results and disinform the public,” the report said. “Whether this has been done due to incompetence, lack of rigor or with mischievous intent is not up to the NEC to decide.”

The election body said just over 93 percent of the country’s eligible voters registered for the national ballot, marking a 10 percent increase over the number of voters registered for the 2002 commune elections. Comfrel reported an 8 percent decrease in voters registered, compared to the 2002 elections.

Comfrel Director Koul Panha said that while the NEC was totaling registration figures from previous elections, the election monitor was only looking at the NEC’s 2003 registration, which managed to sign up only 75 percent of eligible voters.

“Maybe the NEC doesn’t understand what we’re saying,” he said. He also said that the NEC has yet to respond to Comfrel’s request to investigate cases of intimidation during the registration process, and said the election body’s decision to turn registration over to newly-elected commune councils might have made the made the situation worse.

“Commune councils are partisan bodies—they always create some problems. They need more time for training,” he said.

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