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Monitor Faults NEC for Voter Omissions

The Committee for Free and Fair Elections on Thursday sharply criticized the government's top election body and commune-level authorities for the omission of tens of thousands of voters from registries in last month's election.

Comfrel recorded 1,148 cases of name omission in 17 municipalities and provinces, sometimes with as many as 50 or 100 names missing in one case.

An estimated 57,000 names were deleted from voter lists ahead of Election Day, and competing parties have blamed the Cambodian People's Party and the National Election Committee.

The new cases were recorded separately from those deletions, and Comfrel's chief investigator, Mar Sophal said Thursday the NEC and local authorities were to blame.

"The NEC and commune authorities are responsible for the increasing loss of the voters' rights," he said.

Thursday's criticism was the most pointed to date of the national election body, which is comprised of a majority of CPP appointees and has been criticized in the past for political bias.

"There are serious problems affecting the loss of the voting rights, more so than the last election," Mar Sophal said. "The loss of voters' rights is a very serious problem."

NEC officials said Thursday the Comfrel report was not accurate.

"But we welcome what Comfrel has raised," NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said. "I think Comfrel negatively assessed the NEC election process, and Comfrel cannot look into the main problem."