RCAF deputy commander-in-chief Kun Kim yesterday reportedly admonished an armed services youth group not to vote for political parties that “run away”, a seeming thinly veiled jab at the opposition CNRP.
Local media outlet Fresh News, which often disseminates government directives, quoted Kim as saying “electoral registration is very important for voting to select a leader who . . . lives with the people, and doesn’t run away . . . when there is a problem, like some political parties”.
Though he did not mention a party by name, the remark appeared to be a pointed reference to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is in self-imposed exile to avoid jail on convictions widely believed politically motivated.
Election laws prohibit the armed forces from taking direct part in election campaigns, but National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea yesterday would not comment on whether the remarks constituted a violation.
Koul Panha of election watchdog Comfrel said that while such politicised comments “could be questioned”, they probably did not violate the letter of the law. Nonetheless, he added, officers should show “restraint” in their public statements and “stand [as] nonpartisan”.