PHNOM PENH —
Cambodia’s opposition has made a last-ditch call for the country’s election body to extend the period of voter registration for next year’s local elections, which was due to end on Tuesday.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) asked the National Election Committee (NEC) to make the extension during a meeting between officials on Friday morning.
Yim Sovann, a CNRP spokesman, said large numbers of people still wanted to register in some communes, adding that a three-day extension would allow many more to cast ballots next summer.
Opposition CNRP lawmaker Yim Sovan addresses the press after having a meeting with officials of the National Election Committee (NEC) on Friday, November 25, 2016 in Phnom Penh. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)
About 20 percent of eligible voters have yet to register, many of whom are believed to be migrant workers.
“We need to make it easy for them to be able to register to vote. That’s their right, so as a political party, the government as well as the NEC, we are obliged to ensure that [they] can exercise their rights to the fullest,” he said.
Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said the body would consider the CNRP request when the deadline for registration was reached.
“Like I said earlier, the law does not allow us to create mobile voter registration offices along the border. The NEC can do it, but we need to amend the law. That’s the major issue,” he said.
NEC’s spokesperson Hang Puthea addresses the press after having a meeting with senior CNRP lawmakers at the National Election Committee (NEC) on Friday, November 25, 2016 in Phnom Penh. (Leng Len/VOA Khmer)
Sok Eysan, ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman, said the request was a populist move, adding that the current system was satisfactory.
“The CPP wants everyone to implement the existing laws,” he said.
“In some big countries, less than 40 percent of voters go to vote,” he added.
FILE - Sok Eysan, a spokesman and lawmaker of the Cambodian's People Party. (Hean Socheata/ VOA Khmer)
On Thursday, the Election Reform Alliance, a coalition of election-monitoring organizations, issued a joint statement asking for more time for registration.