Complaints Continue in Election Campaign

Opposition parties complained of campaigning irregularities and, in one case, alleged physical violence Monday as the election campaign period moved into its fifth day.

SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua reported being physically harassed Monday morning by a CPP military official in Kampot province. The report by Mu Sochua, who is the SRP’s first candidate in Kampot, comes a day after she said a CPP deputy villager chief had tried to run her over with his motorbike following an altercation.

According to Mu Sochua, on Monday morning she spotted a vehicle with military license plates bearing large CPP em­blems that belongs to San Sman, RCAF commander for the Tan Hann border checkpoint.

Mu Sochua said she took a photo of the car and its owner as evidence that the official was using a state vehicle to campaign for the ruling CPP, and then tried to stop the vehicle from leaving as she called the provincial election committee to report the election law violation.

San Sman, taking exception to being blocked in, argued with Mu Sochua and eventually grab­bed her arm and dragged her away from the front of his car before driving off with the SRP politician still gripping his car.

“He twisted my arm, and my blouse buttons came undone,” Mu Sochua said.

San Sman could not be reach­ed for comment.

Kampot provincial police chief Thlang Phirin said both parties had filed complaints with police over the incident.

Mu Sochua’s complaint alleges sex­ual harassment and an attempt to kill her, and San Sman filed his own over Mu Sochua blocking his ve­hicle from moving, Thlang Phirin said.

“We are working to handle the case. This is not a killing attempt,” he added.

Provincial Election Committee President Te Channarith said both people were in the wrong.

“He abused the election regulations—he was using a military vehicle—but she should have just filed a complaint to the PEC. When she stopped that vehicle, it created the confrontation,” he said.

A warning will be sent to San Sman for campaigning for the CPP in an RCAF vehicle, he added.

The Human Rights Party also complained Monday that party signs and posters had been des­troyed in Kompong Cham, Kandal and Takeo provinces.

“The Human Rights Party properties were destroyed, but the CPP’s remained untouched,” said HRP President Kem Sokha, who added that his party has complained to the respective PECs.

“The [National Election Commit­tee] is not capable of providing fairness for all political parties,” he said by telephone.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said he had heard about the Kampot case and the HRP reports, but said both ranked as minor incidents.

He said the NEC has received 15 complaints during the campaign period so far, an increase of four complaints since Sunday afternoon.

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