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Opposition Accuses Government of Registering Soldiers Illegally

Opposition Sam Rainsy party's (SRP) leader Friday accuses the authorities of transporting soldiers from remote places to register to vote in the upcoming communal elections.

Speaking to reporters at the SRP heaquarters in Phnom Penh, Sam Rainsy says it happens in a number of communes believed to be more supportive of the opposition party than of Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party.

The opposition leader is asking observers to pay close attention to this development.

Secretary of State of the Defense Ministry Moeng Samphan denies the accusation by saying that the army cannot violate the rules and regulations of the National Elections Committee (NEC)

NEC general secretary, Tep Nitha says NEC has allowed the soldiers to register to vote in districts that are close to their bases. He says it's not unusual for the soldiers to go register at a nearby district.

Kol Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Election (COMFREL) it's not illegal for soldiers to register to vote at a nearby district but it is illegal for them to register anywhere else.

He says his organization is carefully monitoring the situation. Opposition party president Sam Rainsy also urges people to go register to vote before the October 20th deadline.

Cambodia will hold the communal election in April 2007.

As in every election in Cambodia, there are accusations of voting irregularities during the voting registration, the campaign period, and on the day of the election.