In a report released yesterday, local election-monitoring organisation Comfrel accuses the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of stifling the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party’s campaign for district, provincial and municipal council elections.
Though the campaigns have been largely non-violent, the report notes, “authorities of the ruling CPP have been interfering in the work of the National Election Committee in violation of the law, and have created a difficult environment for other political party”.
Comfrel cited the closure of Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park to would-be campaigners, and the incidents of May 4, when the armed forces were deployed to block a CNRP rally in Kampong Cham.
However, senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap yesterday brushed off the concerns, and in a Monday press release the NEC stated that the campaigns had proceeded smoothly so far.
The CNRP is the only party actively campaigning for the May 18 vote – which is only open to sitting commune councillors – and party spokesman Yem Ponharith maintained yesterday that despite the ruling party’s interference, “we can move forward”.