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Election Committee Urges People to Register to Vote, Criticized for Low Turnout


FILE - Head of National Election Committee, Sik Bun Hok register to vote for the local elections which will take place next year, in Phnom Penh, on Thursday, September 1, 2016. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

FILE - Head of National Election Committee, Sik Bun Hok register to vote for the local elections which will take place next year, in Phnom Penh, on Thursday, September 1, 2016. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said those who missed out of registering ahead of the 2017 elections would still be able to register for the 2018 general election.

Cambodia’s election committee has made a last-ditch call for people to register to vote ahead of a November 29 deadline.

The National Election Committee (NEC) issued the appeal on Saturday, saying that nearly three quarters of eligible voters had already registered to cast a ballot in the June 2017 commune elections.

More than 7 million people, it said, had signed up since registration began on September 1.

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said the high registration rate was a positive sign.

“This figure shows the citizens’ interest in participating … it also indicates the effort of the National Election Committee,” he said.

He added that those who missed out of registering ahead of the 2017 elections would still be able to register for the 2018 general election.

Yoeung Sotheara, legal officer at election monitor Comfrel, criticized the NEC’s efforts in rural areas of the country. “The education and promotion cannot even be compared with some company’s promotions,” he said.

Sam Kuntheamy, coodrinator at Nicfec, another election monitor, said the relatively low turnout at this stage of the registration process was largely due to hard-to-reach groups, such as monks and disabled people, migrant workers and rural indigenous people.

The NEC has so far received 81 complaints related to the registration period, local media reported last week.

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