First Campaign Week Sees 70 Complaints Filed; Threats Decrease

Political parties filed 70 complaints against each other during the first official week of campaigning for the July 28 national election, the National Election Committee (NEC) announced Thursday.

Speaking at a meeting at NEC headquarters in the Ministry of Interior, Kep Phalla from the legal service department told party representatives and election monitors that the number of threats had decreased since the last election in 2008. “Sixty-one complaints were filed to commune election officials, while the other nine complaints were sent to city and provincial election officials,” he said.

Of the complaints at commune level, 33 led to a resolution ordered by the NEC, while four resolutions for city-level complaints were appealed by those who had lodged the complaint. The NEC is still investigating the remaining 33 complaints.

“There were 17 complaints about interrupting election campaigning, and both the CPP and Cambodian National Rescue Party filed similar complaints to each other,” Mr. Phalla said. “Another 17 complaints were about destroying leaflets of political parties. There has been a decrease in threats during the campaign.”

Mr. Phalla also said that the NEC had confirmed 15,885 local and 30 international observers from six organizations would participate as monitors in the election.

NEC Vice President Sin Chumbo said any disputes to date had been small, and that the NEC had intervened when possible to resolve them. “Normally, when we compete against each other, there are always quarrels between each other, but we intervened and negotiated with those political parties already,” she said. “I request that all media please broadcast what is correct and avoid broadcasting something that is inciting.”

Sao Vandeth, a CPP representative, said during the meeting that the party filed complaints when it felt other parties were breaking rules.

Ruos Suo, director of the CNRP’s bureau of election affairs, said at least 40 complaints had been filed by the opposition, adding that the campaign playing field was uneven.

“We want equality during the election campaign because in some places we were not allowed to put up party signs, but [the CPP] could put their signs there,” he said. “I don’t think the city and provincial election committees are reasonable.”

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