Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday appealed to Cambodia’s 9.6 million eligible voters to register to cast their ballots when enrollment opens next month, as the opposition CNRP expressed concerns that a million migrant workers could be disenfranchised. As part of the 2014 political deal between the CPP and CNRP, a new bipartisan National Election Committee (NEC) was created with a mandate to build a new electronic voter list without the hundreds of thousands of double and missing names that plagued previous lists. Mr. Hun Sen, speaking at a ceremony for a new bridge in Kandal province on Monday, said that those who do not register when NEC officials travel the country from the start of September to the end of November would not be able to vote in next year’s commune elections.
“Understand clearly: You should not think that you already voted five times, so you have your name on the voter list already,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “We have to make a new voter list by registering a new registry for those who have voting rights.”
“I take this opportunity to call on our citizens to re-register their rights as their country’s masters to vote for any party they like,” he added. “Even I have to re-register. If not, I will not only lose the right to vote, but I will lose the right to stand as a candidate.”
About 9.6 million Cambodians are now eligible to vote, according to NEC estimates, with the next elections due on June 4, when 1,644 commune council seats will be up for grabs. The next national election is due on July 29, 2018.