The Ministry of Interior issued a statement Wednesday accusing, though not naming, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of vandalizing 16 of their own party political signs in five districts in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces this week.
According to the ministry statement, 16 CNRP signs were either defaced or knocked down Tuesday night in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdech and Kompong Trabek districts as well as in Svay Rieng City and the province’s Svay Teap and Kompong Ro districts.
Though providing no proof, the ministry said the vandalism was a “cheap act that was systematically planned to ruin the good environment before the election,” and to support those who might try to reject the outcome of the vote.
Destruction of the signs “is to serve the negative purpose of allowing for a denial of the election’s results, which is also what the CNRP has previously said,” the ministry said in the statement, which was signed by Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak.
Chan Ran, district governor of Kompong Trabek district, confirmed that two CNRP signs were damaged, with one defaced with silver spray paint, and the other knocked down.
“The police are investigating this. I think it’s the same people who did it because it’s the same silver spray as in the other districts,” Mr. Ran said, declining to say whether he believed that the CNRP was responsible for destroying its own signs.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann denied that his party was behind the vandalism, and pointed the finger of blame back at the ruling CPP.
“We’ve had almost 100 signs destroyed across the country, in provinces like Kampot, Kep and Kompong Thom,” Mr. Sovann said. “The ruling party knows that our popularity has increased so they want to destroy us.”
“This is just another example to show that this is not a free and fair election,” he added.
Contacted by telephone, Lt. Gen. Sopheak refused to directly accuse the CNRP by name of destroying their own signs, but he vouched for the innocence of his ruling CPP and the six other parties contesting the election.
“The CPP knows that they will win again so they won’t do such a cheap thing,” Mr. Sopheak said.
“And the other six parties are so happy to hear that the CNRP will deny the [election] results because whatever seats the CNRP receives, they will then be distributed to them.”
The National Election Committee confirmed Thursday that it would redistribute seats won by the opposition CNRP if they should decline to take their seats in Parliament after the election.
Sam Rainsy, the self-exiled opposition party president, said Saturday the CNRP would not accept the results of the July 28 vote if there were no reforms made to the electoral process, and that the opposition will demand a re-election.