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Candlelight Party’s Raiya has fines dropped for video row

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Kong Raiya distributed campaign funds to members of the Candlelight Party in Kampong Cham province’s Kang Meas district on May 23. FB

Candlelight Party’s Raiya has fines dropped for video row

The National Election Committee (NEC) on June 2 annulled the decision of the Kampong Cham Provincial Election Commission, which imposed a fine of 5 million riel ($1,250) on Candlelight Party member Kong Raiya for violating Commune Council Election law.

The Kampong Cham commission on May 28 found Raiya guilty of breaching articles 171 and 181 of the law, after he was seen distributing money to party candidates in Kang Meas district during the election campaign.

NEC spokesman Som Sorida said the NEC is the body that enforces the laws, so its decisions were based on the law, and facts. Given the facts, there was no burden of guilt on Raiya.

He said Raiya had provided money to 11 candidates for them to use campaigning. His action was not vote buying, as stated in articles 171 and 181.

“This activity was not the giving of gifts to buy the hearts of voters, as stipulated in article 171 of the commune council election laws. This article prescribes that political parties, activists or representatives must not give gifts or money to anyone, or to any entity, for the purpose of buying votes,” he said.

Raiya is a candidate for Sdao commune. Reached for comment on June 2, he said the NEC’s trial chamber had simply decided not to fine him because he had not committed any act which was contrary to the law.

“The representatives of the CPP [Cambodian People’s Party] who filed the complaint knew they would lose the case. It was merely a strategy to disrupt my campaign and those of my fellow Candlelight Party candidates in Kang Meas district,” he said.

Moeurn Pha, head of the CPP in the district, said he accepted the decision and would not protest it.

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