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EU To Provide Aid, Assistance for Upcoming Elections

Cambodians wait on a line before they vote at a polling station in Phnom Penh, file photo.

The European Union has pledged $11 million to the National Election Committee, to assist in voter registration and other preparations for local elections in 2017 and national elections the year after.

The EU will make recommendations for regulations and election procedures, provide technical assistance from experts and provide materials for the elections, officials said Tuesday.

Voter registration, which in the past has seen many opposition supporters disenfranchised, will begin in October.

The NEC was rebuilt through political negotiations following the 2013 national elections, which the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party had said was marred by fraud.

Widespread problems with voter registration have long been a complaint of the opposition, which claims many of its supporters are dropped from lists or are otherwise discouraged from voting.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea told reporters Tuesday that both the EU and Japan are aiding in election operations, with better information technology and a voter registry. More help is coming from other foreign missions and aid agencies, he said.