Government Bans Alcohol, Citing ‘Disorder’

The government has issued a temporary nationwide ban on selling and consuming alcohol over the weekend to avoid “disorder” during Sunday’s commune elections, continuing a regular election policy in Cambodia.

—Commune Election 2017—

A statement dated May 26 and signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen said that “all kinds of alcohol consumption…can cause violence, traffic accidents, the committing of other offenses or in some cases…disorder.”

cam photo alcohol channa
A man drives a Tuborg promotional tuk-tuk in Phnom Penh on last year. (Siv Channa/Cambodia Daily)

“All Cambodian people and foreigners living in…Cambodia have to cooperate with the government…by temporarily stopping the selling and drinking of alcoholic drinks on the day before the election and on Election Day…in order to participate in preventing violence, threats, intimidation, traffic, social danger and other phenomena that are caused by all kinds of alcoholic drinks,” it said.

National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Hang Puthea said the election body had suggested the ban.

“I am a former international observer…and when observing in every country, I always saw that a ban on alcoholic drinks before and on the day of elections happens almost generally in the world,” Mr. Puthea said.

Colombia, Ecuador, India, Thailand and the Philippines have previously had similar bans.

Nget Haysan, manager of Mekong River Restaurant on Phnom Penh’s riverside, said his business would follow the directive, as it had done during previous elections.

Across the road at Deju Vu restaurant, manager Sou Mara said she would also follow the government’s orders.

“It’s good to have a ban…for safety, because the government is afraid of the people being drunk and getting into traffic accidents,” she said.

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