Using the King's image, confiscating voter registration cards and making false
claims: all three main parties have fallen foul of election rules said election
monitors and the National Election Committee (NEC).
The Sam Rainsy Party
ran into trouble over its use of the King's image on an election leaflet. Three
thousand of a total 30,000 leaflets were seized by commune election committees
in various areas when the SRP was distributing them. The SRP denied it had
broken election law.
"We used the King's photograph because we wanted to
clarify for Cambodian people that the SRP respects the King, because Funcinpec
has for a long time accused SRP of being a republican party," said Eng Chhay
Eang, SRP secretary-general.
The NEC disagreed, saying use of the King's
image to boost party credibility was banned. The NEC also issued a letter
January 20 calling on leaders of the parties to stop broadcasting messages
deemed critical of individuals in other parties or the parties themselves. The
reason, the NEC said, was to prevent incitement.
The Post has learned
that Sam Rainsy and the president of Funcinpec, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, had
disagreed over using the King's image before campaigning began. Both parties
know the King is well-regarded in rural areas where most of the country's voters
Eang said the SRP had used the pictures of Rainsy with the King to
clarify to the public that Rainsy's father was not against King Norodom Sihanouk
50 years ago. Rainsy's father was a prominent politician before his death in the
Prom Nhean Vicheth, media chairman at the NEC, criticized all
three main political parties for violating campaigning rules. Most of the cases,
he said, were recorded in Kampong Cham, home to the majority of pre-election
violence. In an apparent reference to the SRP's use of the King's picture
Vicheth said action would be taken against "a party" for violating Chapter 8 of
the commune election law.
"[The party] which uses the picture of the
King or the Queen during campaigning - that is objectionable not only to the
NEC, but also to common citizens. No one is allowed to exploit the King or his
activities for political gains," he said.
Other violations included
breaches of Article 128 of the election law, which prohibits parties from
inciting violence or affecting another party's campaign. The SRP chant "Crush
the dictator" repeated at some campaigns apparently breached this
Vicheth hinted that Funcinpec had also crossed the line by
claiming some NGOs had set up in Cambodia at the party's behest.
think the NGOs come here at the invitation of the political parties. They come
to work for over 11 million Cambodians," Vicheth said.
Under Article 240
of the commune election law, the parties can be fined 5-10 million riel, and
either the party or the candidate can be removed from running in the commune.
The NEC said it planned to take action along this line against the erring
Meanwhile Sunai Phasuk, political analyst for Asian Network for
Free Elections, told a press conference January 28 that Anfrel was concerned at
the CPP's collection of thumb prints, retaining of some voters' registration
cards, and forced drinking of oath water.
"The activities have been
carried out by local CPP officers in almost every village that we visited in the
nine provinces," said Phasuk.