The SRP has filed the first official complaints over the use of state property for election campaigning, accusing CPP supporters of using state vehicles during rallies in Kampot and Preah Vihear provinces, according to a National Election Committee official.
The SRP accused a Kampot RCAF senior official of using a Toyota Land Cruiser with RCAF license plates during a rally June 30, said Keo Phalla, the NEC’s Legal Services Department director.
The SRP also complained that a man wearing a CPP T-shirt rode a motorbike bearing a state license plate in Preah Vihear on June 30, he said.
The Kampot case is being heard, while the Preah Vihear case has been written off as a “misunderstanding,” Keo Phalla said.
“There were not any complaints” about the use of state vehicles during past elections, Keo Phalla said. “It seemed no one was interested until only just now,” he said.
Ruos Suor, a deputy director of the election department at the SRP, said Monday the reason complaints have come before the NEC is that mobile phones now have cameras that allow the collection of evidence against law-breakers.
“Phones didn’t have cameras [in past elections],” he said. “In Preah Vihear and other small provinces, [activists] didn’t even know what a camera was,” he said.
CPP lawmaker Nguon Nhel, who heads the ruling party’s election committee, denied Monday that CPP members had broken any rules. In fact, he said, the CPP could complain about SRP violations, but the party chooses not to.
“There are no shortages of cases to complain [about] of the Sam Rainsy Party,” he said. “There are hundreds and thousands of cases if the Cambodian People’s Party needs to complain.”
Provincial election committees can punish anyone found guilty of using state property for campaign purposes by denying the offender’s right to vote and imposing fines of 5 million and 25 million riel ($1,250 and $6,000 respectively), Keo Phalla said. Candidates caught using state property during their campaign can also lose their eligibility to stand for election, he added.