NEC Warns LDP Over Online Posts on Campaign Blackout Day

The National Election Committee has issued a warning to the League for Democracy Party for allegedly violating election law by criticizing other parties online during the campaign blackout 24 hours before polls opened on Sunday morning.

In a letter signed by NEC President Sik Bunhok and addressed to LDP president Khem Veasna, the election body said on Sunday that the party “had used an online system to disseminate attacks on other political parties.”

Siv channa 08
(Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“These activities have completely violated the law because all election campaign activities of the political parties must stop 24 hours before Election Day and on Election Day,” it says.

Repeated infractions carry penalties, the NEC said. Voters or candidates who ignore warnings could be banned from voting for five years or pulled from the candidate list, it said, citing the commune elections law in a separate statement. They could also face fines of up to 10 million riel, or about $2,500.

Mr. Veasna said the NEC had not specified what online material had violated the law or who shared it.

“I’m not sure…if it’s my post, LDP’s post or any supporters’ post,” he said. The NEC only said that “we posted something to criticize another party.”

The NEC said that it would take further action if the LDP continued to post such messages. NEC spokesman Hang Puthea could not be reached on Sunday.

Mr. Veasna shared half a dozen posts on his official Facebook page on Saturday, including one in which he criticized the ruling CPP and the main opposition CNRP, using a sometimes derogatory term for Vietnamese people.

“Does it hurt, when we know clearly that ‘Yuon’ need the parties, like the CPP and CNRP?” he wrote.

Mr. Veasna said his party had not intended to violate any laws and was not the only one sharing political posts online during the so-called “white day” when campaigning was banned.

“I don’t know why they issued the warning letter only to the LDP,” he said.

In a separate case on Saturday, CNRP activist Chan Chen, 41, was detained and released by police after about four hours for playing party songs and political messages through speakers at his home in Prey Veng province, VOD Hot News reported on Sunday.

His sound equipment was temporarily confiscated by Sithor Kandal district police and would be returned after Election Day, local election officials told VOD.

(Additional reporting by Matt Surrusco)

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