Modest Campaign Plans for CPP, Funcinpec

As the CNRP has taken to Phnom Penh’s streets and its provincial outposts to rally support ahead of the May 18 district, city and provincial council election, the ruling CPP said Monday it had no plans to match the opposition’s campaign push, confident that the vast majority of councilors are CPP faithful.

“Only 11,459 incumbent commune councilors can vote,” CPP spokesman and senior party lawmakers Cheam Yeap said. “So we are optimistic that the more than 8,000 CPP councilors will vote for our party and we will gain seats in some districts and provinces.”

Partly in an effort to turn CPP-loyal councilors, the CNRP has been campaigning heavily in recent days with marches and rallies around the country.

But Mr. Yeap said the CPP would be keeping its events confined to the party’s offices in the provinces, in observance of a ban on party demonstrations outside of party offices issued by the National Election Committee (NEC).

“We are not the opposition, so we respect the Constitution, the King and the NEC’s order while the opposition CNRP uses the election campaign as an excuse for illegal gatherings and illegal demonstrations,” he said.

“We are the ruling party,” he added. “So we just play loudspeakers in every district, municipality and province about the party’s platform and policies, and we hang up banners and other things.”

Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said his party, which failed to win a single National Assembly seat in last year’s national elections, would be concentrating on the four provinces where it has the most commune councilors: Banteay Meanchey, Kompong Thom, Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces.

“The [party’s] candidates will visit all the commune councilors to disseminate the party’s policies since this is not a national election and only the commune councilors are eligible to vote,” he said.

“If none of the commune councilors from our party vote for anyone else, I believe we will have a good outcome in this election.”

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