Prime Minister Warns Against Vote-Buying Tactics

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday railed against vote-buying in a speech broadcast on Apsara Radio from Santok district in Kompong Thom province.

“Some people collect voting cards from people in return for donations,” Hun Sen said. “It’s very dangerous.”

Officials are approaching poor villagers and offering to exchange their vote for a “donation” in communes where a voting card is the only identification required to vote, he explained. “On behalf of the government, I would like to appeal to people. The voting card is your right, your life—do not exchange it for rice. It’s wrong and it cheats people; it revokes their rights,” Hun Sen said.

Meanwhile, campaign regulations  approved by the National Election Committee on Friday have provoked criticism from some candidates.

Sun Sokunmelea, secretary-general of the Khmer Front Party, complained at a news conference on Sunday that the NEC did not take into account the recommendations on the draft law put forward by opposition parties. “They only serve the party that has power, and make more difficulties for the small parties,” she said.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha disagreed, saying the NEC included external recommendations in all four drafts of the new campaign regulations.

The controversial chapter of the campaign law dealing with transportation on Election Day has been resolved. Party representatives will be allowed to transport voters to polling stations in private vehicles with no political advertisement on the outside, or any candidates on the inside.

The  rules also state that all parties may buy broadcast time from private television and radio stations to advertise their parties’ political platforms. Media outlets must make equal time available to all parties. Civil servants, soldiers and police officers of all ranks may participate in campaign activities outside of work hours, but officers must not wear their uniform or carry arms to do so, according to the regulations.

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