PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
A LOW number of Cambodians signed up on the first day of voter registration for next year's general election, United Nations officials reported Oct. 6.
The disappointing turnout was attributed to widespread fear and suspicion of politicians and security officials after the past two decades of war and repression.
Only 2,509 out of an expected 5 million voters registered in a drive that is to be completed by Dec. 31. The election is slated to be held by May 1993 under the supervision of a UN peacekeeping force.
The peace process remains in disarray as the communist Khmer Rouge guerrilla group refuses to disarm or cooperate with the UN monitors.
Delaying the election to wait for the Khmer Rouge to participate would mean extending the $1.9 billion peacekeeping operation, already the most expensive in UN history.
On the other hand, an election boycotted by the guerrilla group raises the danger of a continued Khmer Rouge insurgency.