Second Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed for a peaceful campaign season Saturday and urged citizens to turn in “intimidators.”
“Vote for the party you like. Don’t be afraid of someone intimidating you,” he said at a school inauguration speech broadcast on national radio from Kompong Speu province.
“I am appealing to the people to arrest those who intimidate them for votes. Please help arrest them…or report them to the [National Election Committee] or human rights workers,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen’s CPP workers have been accused in recent weeks of intimidating potential voters by gathering their thumbprints and making them swear allegiances to the party.
Villagers have accused powerful village and commune chiefs of intimidating the voters, a charge CPP officials have denied.
The NEC is investigating the allegations.
The second prime minister was also unwavering on the currently scheduled July 26 date for the elections, telling the audience to plan on keeping the calendars clear for that day.
“We will hold the national election on July 26. So please do not get married on this day, or you will not get a chance to vote,” Hun Sen said.
Election experts have questioned whether the NEC will have completed preparations before July 26 date.
Opposition politicians have called for the election date to be moved back until November.
Interior co-Minister Sar Kheng has suggested the polls could be delayed by up to two or three weeks because of technical considerations.
Hun Sen also called for peace after the polls close.
“Please do not divide yourselves in one village as Party A, Party B or Party C. After the election, do not get into conflict because of the parties….Do not be foolish and threaten people for voting.”
At least 150 people were killed in the 1993 UN-sponsored elections.