The Committee for Free and Fair Elections said Wednesday it had noted irregularities in the voter registration process that ended this month.
In a report released Wednesday, Comfrel said it found irregularities in the registration process itself and in the quality of registration lists. The group also noted a lack of confidence among non-ruling parties.
Voter registration took place between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15 in most communes, except where it was extended due to flooding, as Cambodia prepares for local commune elections next year.
“We have concerns about the quality of voter lists,” Koul Panha, Comfrel’s executive director, told reporters. “We think there will be duplicate names at two sites or up to three sties.”
Comfrel said it found that commune clerks in 72 of 1,621 communes had failed to respect registration hours and had either come to work late, left early or not shown up at all.
Registration in some provinces had taken place without proper documentation, and some voters had disappeared from lists in two communes of Preah Sihanouk province. Registration was not announced in at least six communes in Ratanakkiri province.
In two communes in Pailin, ruling party signs were displayed at registration sites.
Comfrel also found an imbalance in political broadcasting, with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party dominating TV and radio broadcasts.
Koul Panha said a continuation of that trend “can affect the justice of the election process.”
Kuoy Bunroeun, a lawmaker for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, called the Comfrel assessment credible.
“The Sam Rainsy Party in the past few days has [identified] many irregularities,” he said.
However, Tep Nitha, secretary-general for the National Election Committee, said the Comfrel report did not tell the whole story.
“The majority of commune clerks and members met with the floods,” he said, explaining the lack of attendance at registration sites. “They could not fulfill their full work hours.”
In addition, he said, nearly 1 million new voters were registered, double the original estimate.