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Hun Sen Mum After Smooth Voting in Kandal

Prime Minister Hun Sen traveled with wife Bun Rany to Takmau in Kandal province Sunday to cast his ballot for commune council leaders but declined to comment afterwards.

Kandal province had nearly 780,000 registered voters in 147 communes, election officials said. The province had 28 different election sites.

Kim Hong, head of the Kandal Provincial Election Committee, said voting proceeded "smoothly," an observation echoed by party and neutral observers at sites in Takmau.

Sam Rainsy Party Secretary-General Mu Sochua said there were some irregularities, especially where current commune chiefs were lingering too close to polling stations.

Tep Nitha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, said commune chiefs had a duty to help people vote and that their presence near some polling stations was likely a result of that.

They had been instructed to stay at least 100 meters away from polling sites, he said. In general, Sunday was going better than the 2002 commune elections, Tep Nitha said. Less people had come out to vote this time, about 70 percent, he said.

In Takmau, people waited in double lines starting from early morning, but none seemed too tired or bored as polling went on.

"I have decided that I will vote for whomever gives me money (to live) after Pol Pot," said one woman in line, an 80-year-old who identified herself as Grandmother Nou.

Another voter, Chan Sokheng, said this election had gone better than the last one. "I am not bored. This is not a normal case," Chan Sokheng said.

"I want to vote, therefore waiting in line gives me no problem."