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Voter Information Cards Spark Row


A decision by the National Election Committee to distribute information cards to voters met with resistance from opposition parties and rights groups who said Wednesday the committee will likely only distribute information to ruling party supporters.

The National Election Committee has been criticized for supporting the Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party.

The plan, which would use commune councils to distribute the information, could lend itself to political manipulation, as the CPP controls a vast majority of the councils, the groups said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said that in previous elections, his supporters did not get such cards.

“The village chief will not distribute them to those who do not support the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said.

NEC Chairman Im Suosdey said the committee would call for rights groups and political parties to be observers of the process to ensure the cards are distributed.

Observers worry that the cards, which are only informational, may confuse people; those who don’t get the cards might believe they cannot vote.

“Sometimes there is discrimination, and in some families, some get the cards and some do not,” said Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.

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