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Final Voter List at 8.12 Million, NEC Says

The voter registration list for July's national elections has been finalized, with more than 8 million people expected to vote and hundreds of thousands of names dropped or added, officials said Wednesday.

About 587,000 names were cleaned from the registration lists in all 24 municipalities and provinces, and around 911,000 names were added, NEC President Im Suosdey said Wednesday.

"So the voter list for the next election 2008 is now up to 8.12 million," he said, adding that voters will be able to cast ballots at 15,254 stations nationwide.

The NEC made its final decision Tuesday and would move forward with the list, officials said at a press conference.

Opposition lawmaker Kuoy Bunroeun said during the press conference there was still a worry that legitimate voters have been cleaned from the NEC list.

"They will lose their right to vote and chose their representative," he said.

Im Suosdey said the NEC cleared even less names than have been estimated as "ghost names."

Muth Chantha, spokesman for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, expressed concern that ballots would be positioned in homes of villagers, leading to a loss of privacy, but NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said the boxes were to be set up this election in schools and pagodas.

Comfrel legal officer Kaing Sovanren recommended the NEC facilitate observers and take into consideration the neutrality of government officials, as well as considering complaints and the transmission of election information.

Im Suosdey said schedules were now being established for the recruitment of an election officer that would help concerned voters find their names on the registration list.

The period for political party registration will be from April 28 through May 12, he said.

The NEC is now looking for more than $6 million to help fund the election, which will cost an estimated $17 million.

The Cambodian government is paying at least $10 million.

Voter turnout for last year's commune elections was only about 70 percent of 7.9 million registered voters, and election monitors and other officials hope the national elections will see a better turnout--closer to the 89 percent who cast ballots in 2002.