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Only a Third of New Voters So Far Registered, Monitor Says

Just over a third of potential new voters have registered for next year's national election, a monitor said Tuesday, adding to concern that regulations were hampering the free and fair election process.

If the number does not rise in coming weeks, the drop in new registrants would be significant compared to the elections of 2006, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections said.

Smaller parties have complained that registration and other procedures are preventing new voters, who could potentially vote against the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

Around 223,000 of an estimated 680,000 new voters have registered this year, Comfrel said in a statement Tuesday. The numbers were a result of a Comfrel survey of observers in 400 of Cambodian 1,621 communes.

The independent monitor said it estimated 34 percent of new voters had registered.

Potential voters have until Oct. 20 to register, according to the National Election Committee, so that number could grow.