Battambang Official Files Campaign Complaint Against CNRP

A deputy commune chief in Battambang City filed a complaint Friday with the provincial election committee (PEC), accusing the CNRP of failing to inform him when they publicly screened a political video in his commune on May 6 and 7.

“I have received this complaint,” said Keo Sina, who sits on the Battambang PEC, regarding the complaint filed by Suon Sokhen, deputy chief of Svay Por commune.

“The CNRP does not respect the Election Law. They did not ask authorities of [Svay Por] commune to campaign there or to show the video in public,” he said.

Although the opposition did have permission from the PEC to carry out its campaign in Battambang, it should have also received clearance from commune officials for specific activities, Mr. Sina added.

On the evening of May 6, a team of CNRP officials and activists led by Mu Sochua, the party’s top lawmaker-elect in the province, began screening politically charged footage via a truck-mounted projector at a number of locations around Battambang City, including Svay Por commune.

Police blocked the streets where the CNRP’s mobile campaign stopped, preventing locals from gathering in large numbers to watch the film, which contained footage of violent land evictions, police suppression of protests and messages from opposition party leaders.

Contacted Monday, Ms. Sochua said that her party had gone through the necessary procedures to campaign in the commune.

“We have permission from the PEC to campaign in Battambang City and they were aware that we would be showing the movie every night,” Ms. Sochua said.

The Law on Election of Members of the National Assembly states that parties must inform commune officials in advance of using public spaces for campaign activities.

However, such a provision is absent from the law governing the provincial, municipal and district commune elections, to be held on May 18. But Im Suosdey, chairman of the National Election Committee (NEC), said that the CNRP should cooperate with local officials in the interest of public order.

“They should inform local officials so they can be organized and aware of security during campaign events,” he said.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said a deputy commune chief in Battambang City filed a complaint on Monday with the provincial election committee. The complaint was filed on Friday.

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