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Survey: More Than 10 Percent Unregistered for National Polls

A recent survey by two independent election monitors showed more than 10 percent of eligible voters had yet to register, the groups announced Thursday.

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections and the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia said about 680,000 potential voters still need to register, a number similar to that predicted by the National Election Committee.

Cambodians will vote for representatives in parliament in July next year, which in turn determines who sits in ministerial seats. A relatively low number of voters in this year's local elections has worried some observers who say voters are either confused by the process—or apathetic to it.

"We audited, first, to give a report observing the election to be independent, second, to state whether the voter lists are correct, third, for election process transparency," Nicfec Executive Director Hang Puthea said Thursday, at a press conference to announce the findings of the survey.

The voter list audit was undertaken over four days in August, with technical support from the US group National Democratic Institute.

"We think that this is the first new stage," said NDI program leader Ly Sothearayuth. "We must audit the voter lists because in the past the idea of the people participating in the election is low level."

Leaders of the Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy political parties hailed the survey as a positive step toward elections that could help foster the participation of as many voters as possible.

Voter lists have come under careful scrutiny in recent months, with some political parties citing them as a potential points for election tampering.