Election campaigning for the upcoming third-mandate municipal, provincial, town and district council elections is due to end this Friday, while the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is tipped to sweep all seats across the Kingdom.
The eight days of campaigning began last Friday and the elections, with seven political parties participating, will be held on Sunday.
A total of 559 municipal and provincial councillor seats are being contested, while 3,555 town and district council seats are up for grabs, with 11, 572 commune council members across the country eligible to vote.
A total of 203 polling stations will open their doors in Phnom Penh and the 24 provincial capitals.
National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Hang Puthea told The Post the election campaign had run on schedule, with gatherings, loudspeakers and processions held without any hitches.
He said there was a healthy collaboration between the political parties, election officials and local authorities.
“The political parties showed their maturity in following the law, regulations and election procedures. Overall, the event went smoothly,” Puthea said.
He said of the seven parties, only one, the Khmer Republican Party of Lon Rith, the son of the late Lon Nol, had decided not to enlist the help of the NEC to run an advertising campaign on National Television of Kampuchea (TVK).
Puthea said the party had barely carried out any campaigning – only running a few advertisements. “That’s their right. Nothing was standing in the party’s way,” he said.
Khmer Will Party president Kong Monika told The Post that his party had only held small gatherings with its activists and grassroots people in districts and villages.
His party is very young, he said, and does not have the financial resources of the ruling party, so campaigning was conducted on a voluntary basis to the best of activists’ abilities.
“I have used this opportunity to meet with the people and explain my party’s policies and hopefully deepen the relationship between the party and local people and activists."
“In the future, we will consider whether there should be a law on funding political parties to enable them to function equally because some countries have a law like that,” Monika said.
He is not expecting to garner much support at these elections but is attempting to meet with voters who are former commune councillors from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party.
He hopes to encourage them to vote for the Khmer Will Party and help give it a voice in the development of local communities because, he said, government by a single ruling party is less effective than by a plurality of parties.
Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) president Pich Sros told The Post that his party had been allowed to campaign freely but had only spent a single day campaigning in Phnom Penh. Besides that, he went to meet local voters directly.
He is expecting to gain some support because of what he calls the CPP’s “inability”.
“If young people want to participate in the development of the nation and reflect the government’s inability, then voters will choose the CYP because it represents the new generation and works transparently with the nation and the people,” Sros said.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan told The Post his party had not encountered any problems or violence and he hoped the party would win 100 per cent of the seats.
“Because voters are commune and district council members, each one is a key person to the CPP. I have no worries about losing votes. The grassroots is the key,” Eysan said.