Parties To Spend Little on 2006 Senate Elections

Representatives of the four political parties scheduled to participate in the January 2006 Senate election said their parties will run small campaigns because the ultimate result of the political contest is all but known in advance because of voting patterns.

The four parties—the CPP, Fun­cin­pec, Sam Rainsy Party and the little-known Khmer Dem­ocra­tic Party—said they aren’t planning on expending a lot of energy or cash on the election, which will run from Dec 31 until Jan 20.

“We won’t hold a big campaign,” Khieu Kanharith, CPP spokesman, said Tuesday.

Ung Huot, Funcinpec secretary-gen­eral who is in charge of the pa­rty’s campaign, and Kong Korm, acting president of the Sam Rain­sy Party, said they will con­cen­trate on lobbying commune councilors to vote for their respective parties.

“We don’t have a big plan to hold a massive campaign because this is only the Senate election,” Kong Korm said.

Uk Phourik, president of the Khmer Democratic Party, said he planned to spend up to $20,000 during the 21-day campaign cycle and hopes that the election will raise his party’s profile.

“Maybe our party will receive only one ballot,” he said, adding that he has only one commune coun­cil member, who is in Kampot province.

Tep Nitha, secretary-general of the National Election Committee, said the NEC will divide equal airtime to the political parties on TVK and national radio in order to conduct their campaigns for the Sen­ate.

He stressed that no political party will be allowed to conduct any  cam­­paign activities before the election campaign schedule starts on Dec 31.

Tep Nitha said that he hoped that only “minor political violence” will occur during the election campaign, adding that the NEC has asked provincial and municipality election committees to cooperate with authorities in protecting voting stations.


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