The National Election Committee has warned members of the public against violent clashes while campaigning for the national elections next month, while City Hall announced a ban on campaigning in certain areas of the city.
“All the parties must refrain from using any violence against each other while campaigning,” Som Chandyna, a member of National Election Committee, said in a Friday meeting announcing the start of the month-long campaign period, which will kick off June 27.
In the past the NEC has warned people against using violence ahead of national elections, said Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.
“I think there will be some violence, but I’m hoping that it will be minor and not systematic,” Virak said yesterday.
But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said despite the government warning, he doubted there would be much violence during the leadup to the July 28 vote.
“The ruling party, the [Cambodian People’s Party] is mature enough [to avoid violence]”, Siphan said yesterday.
The city of Phnom Penh, meanwhile, has issued a letter banning campaigning in certain parts of the city in the run-up to the elections.
A letter sent to the Ministry of Interior on Thursday and released yesterday said the selective banning will maintain public order and avoid creating traffic jams.
“Phnom Penh municipality issued a ban on campaigning in some areas in order to ensure the campaign is held with security, safety; all parties are to avoid [creating] traffic jams which disturb residents, as well as tourists,” said Long Dimanche, a City Hall spokesman.
From June 26 until July 26, campaigning will be banned on Norodom Boulevard from the Independence Monument to the Angdong stoplight; Russian Boulevard; Monivong Boulevard from the PKC stoplight to the former Chinese hospital stoplight; Sihanouk Boulevard from Sothearos Park to the former Chinese hospital stoplight; Mao Tse Teoung Boulevard from the Chenla stoplight to the Tep Phan stoplight; Tep Phan Street from the corner of Monivong Boulevard to the Neang Kong Hing stoplight; Sothearos Boulevard from the corner of Street 154 to Sihanouk Boulevard; and Soramarith Boulevard as well as the street around the Royal palace.
Campaigning will also be banned from six downtown areas, including the streets around Central Market, O’Russey market, Olympic market, Tuol Tompong market, Depo market and Deum Kor market.
The city also banned campaigning from public areas including Royal Park, Men field, Independence Monument, Yeay Penh statue, Ngoy statue and Hun Sen Park.
Additional reporting by Sean Teehan