The start of campaigning for this year’s national elections has been less violent than the same period in 2003, the National Election Committee announced Friday.
“There are threats now but there were a lot more in 2003,” NEC Secretary-General Tep Nytha said.
He said 52 complaints had been received by the NEC so far this campaign compared to 600 registered at the same point five years ago.
During a roundtable debate at the NEC on Friday, representatives from all the parties had a chance to air their grievances publicly.
Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha told the meeting that CPP officials were attempting to win the election by threatening and intimidating, scaring, obstructing and disturbing their opponents.
He also claimed two top CPP officials in Kampot province’s Dang Tong district had threatened an NRP district chief that he would be shot if he did not join the CPP and that NRP posters had been torn down in Battambang province.
“In all these cases we have complained to the Provincial Election Committee and there have been no solutions beyond a compromise to apologize,” Muth Channtha said. Under the election law, he added, candidates found guilty of such violations should be removed from the candidate list.
An SRP representative at the discussion, Dyna Sakun, showed pictures of SRP signs torn down by district officials wearing CPP T-shirts. He claimed the SRP complaint on the matter had not been upheld by the PEC. “Every complaint, the SRP loses,” he said.
A CPP representative, Ok Kimhan, took to the floor to deny the allegations against the ruling party, adding that all parties had made mistakes so far during the campaign period.
“All parties have faults, not just the CPP,” he said. He also accused SRP leader Sam Rainsy of inciting his supporters in an irresponsible manner.
“[His words] make their activists angry and they cannot control their hatred,” he added.