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Failure on Land Could Hamper Voters

The failure of Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials to solve a rash of recent land disputes could deter voters from heading to the polls in July, observers said.

About 200 villagers marched from Battambang last week and were promised resolution to a long-standing land dispute.

As with many such disputes, no solution has come, including recent outcries from villagers in Pailin, Bantey Meanchey, Kampot and the capital itself.

With no resolution, voting becomes hard, a rights worker said.

"How can they vote if their land has not been resolved?" said Chan Saveth, an investigator for the rights group Adhoc.

Despite the difficulties, election observers say the election is an important time for people to make their land woes known.

Meanwhile, national land authority officials say the election period could lead to the "politicization" of land disputes.