Candidates Fearful, Group Says

The murder of a Funcinpec Party activist planning to run in next year’s communal elections in Kampot province has caused fear among other candidates, the Kampot coordinator for the Coalition for Free and Fair Elec­tions said Friday.

“All of us in the provinces are worried about this news,” Lim Lin told fellow Coffel coordinators during a meeting in Phnom Penh. “It is affecting other candidates. The others are scared they will be killed too.”

Lim Lin was referring to the killing of Prak Chhien and his wife, Duong Meas, who were gunned down June 3. Prak Chhien was recently picked by Funcinpec provincial party auth­orities to run in the commune elections. An investigation into the murder of him and his wife have not yielded definite conclusions, with some people claiming the killings were politically motivated while others saying it was a personal dispute.

Political intimidation was one of the issues discussed during the meeting of Coffel representatives from the provinces. They met to discuss the attitude of residents and potential candidates toward the upcoming commune elections, which are at least 18 months away.

The representatives also releas­ed survey results of how residents want to vote in the commune elections, most of whom said they would rather vote for individual candidates rather than particular political parties.

Sok Try, the Coffel coordinator in Takeo province, said almost all of the 6,698 residents surveyed said they prefer to vote for individual candidates and they support women running in the commune elections.

“It’s easier for people to select their leaders individually because they feel like it’s more personal,” Sok Try said.



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