The secretary-general for the National Election Committee (NEC) said on Thursday that it would not investigate Defense Minister Tea Banh’s recent threat of violence against protesters as the upcoming June 4 commune elections’ campaigning period had yet to begin.
“Sorry. It is not the NEC’s authority,” Tep Nytha said. “The NEC’s job starts from election campaigning day and ends on election day.”
General Banh said on Sunday that he would “smash the teeth” of anyone who demonstrates against election results.
Mr. Nytha said that if the NEC were to receive a complaint on Saturday—the start of the campaigning period—or thereafter, the committee would take action, though he did not elaborate.
Mr. Nytha also appealed to politicians to “pay attention to conducting a proper campaign in accordance with the law.”
Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, reminded parties to cease their campaigns on June 3, the day before elections known as “white day,” and added that journalists “should not pour gasoline on the fire but they should act as water trucks to put out the fire.”