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Timeframe for Upcoming Elections Still Off: Monitor

An election worker calls votes off a ballot as election observers look on through a window, (file photo).

The National Election Committee has increased its efforts to register new voters, but the schedule for registration is still not perfect, a leading election observer said Monday.

Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said voters have now been given from 20 to 45 days to register, while people have more time to file their complaints should there be problems.

But he also said that registration, which goes from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15 should not be held during the rainy season, which would save time and trouble for the committee, voters and politicians.

“Every time that Cambodians go to register or to vote, it always coincides with floods and heavy rain,” he said.

Future registration should take place in the dry months before the monsoon, which typically begins in May, he said.

“If everything is organized during rainy season, it will affect the national budget,” he said. “Even the National Election Committee itself will require extra funds in case of flooding.”

This year’s registration, for local commune elections next year, is being held during some of the heaviest rains and flooding in more than a decade.

The National Elections Committee says it has registered an estimated 460,000 out of more than 470,000 expected new voters.