>Political Parties Raised The Issue Of Election Campaign

>Human Right Party’s election rally in Phnom Penh on 26th June.

By Kim Pov Sotton
Radio Free Asia
4th July 2008
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization

Many political parties said that there are many cases of political intimidations, threats and obstruction of election campaign during the week long campaigning period.

Their complaints were raised during a meeting with the National Election Committee (NEC) at the Committee’s headquarter in Phnom Penh.

Mr. Muth Chantha, a spokesman for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, has openly accused the Cambodian People’s Party of threatening to dismiss its officials if their electorate lost the election as a factor which led to the threats and intimidations.

Mr. Muth Chantha said: “Prime Minister has appealed to his supporters not to commit violence, not to use threats and the NEC has also issued a directive. But the reason that the political threats and intimidations cannot be prevented was due to the orders given by the Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) to its local officials, threatening to dismiss them from their jobs if they cannot ensure a win in their constituency.”

He said that his party faces many intimidations including death threats against party activists in Kampot who refused to defect to the CPP, party’s vehicle was shot at, insulting and obscene language and the destruction of campaign material in Battambang province.

Most of the accusations were directed the CPP but Mr. Hong Kim Hean, a CPP official, rejected the accusations by saying that the CPP has also received violations. He said that his party’s campaign material have also been destroyed. He added that some parties have distributed MSG powder to voters and other used the pictures of the former king to campaign.

Mr. Hong Kim Hean said: “I am very worried, like what happened in Kratie. There, Mr. Sam Rainsy said that the present Cambodian leaders are all kleptocrats (thieves). These sorts of language has increased tensions. And he added that the pictures that are hanging along the streets are pictures of kleptocrats and the man in the middle is the worst one. These sorts of language are inciting and they are not good.”

Mr. Khieu Veasna, official from the Human Right Alliance, said that there are some violence in the rural areas when the campaign rally of political parties criss-crossed each other.

Mr Tep Nytha, Secretary General of the NEC, said that despite some violence, this election is considered better than the previous elections. In the past one week or so of campaigning, the NEC had just received 52 complaints, compared to 600 complaints during the 2003 election.

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