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Parties unveiling campaign plans

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Candlelight Party holds its party congress in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on May 15. Heng Chivoan

Parties unveiling campaign plans

With the June 5 commune council elections approaching, political parties are gearing up for the launch of their campaigns to drum up support.

Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) vice-president Kheuy Sinoeun said on May 19 that on the first day of the two-week campaign – set by the National Election Committee (NEC) to begin on May 21 through June 3 – the CNLP will launch its campaign at the grass roots level rather than gathering all of its supporters and holding a large rally.

However, the party is set to do so at an appropriate time – after other parties have run their large events.

FUNCINPEC spokesman Nhoeun Raden said the party was due to launch theirs on May 22. A procession of cars and motorcycles would carry 500 to 1,000 supporters – led by party president Prince Chakravuth – from Prek Ho commune.

“The party has already planned large events like this in each province. We have assigned teams to coordinate and run each one. The prince will visit the provinces and communes in which we have executive directors who are campaigning, according to the dates permitted by the NEC. We will also hand out leaflets and broadcast political messages through loudspeakers,” he added.

Kampuchea Niyum Party (KP) founder Yem Ponharith said on May 19 the KP had fielded candidates in communes in the capital and nine provinces. It was planned that on the first day of the campaign period, activists and candidates would share the party’s platform via speakers and canvas door to door with flyers.

He said they will likely hold rallies through the communes where they are confident of attracting more than 100 supporters – such as Preah Sdech commune in Prey Veng province’s Preah Sdech district – but their main focus would be on handing out leaflets and broadcasting their policies.

Grassroots Democratic Party spokesman Loek Sothea said the party was due to launch a major campaign in Koh Dach commune of Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district.

“On the first day, we will assemble and parade through several communes, but we expect the largest procession to be in Koh Dach commune because this is the only capital commune we are contesting. On May 26, we will have another large rally in Sokram commune of Kampot province. We expect an attendance of around 800 supporters,” he added.

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A supporter of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), prepares an information booth for its campaign in Tonle Bassac commune of the capital’s Chamkarmon district on May 17. Heng Chivoan

Cambodian Reform Party (CRP) founder OuChanrath said on May 19 that the party had fielded candidates in only 59 communes in the capital and provinces, so the party will not hold a huge launch on day one of the campaign period. The party would encourage each commune to hold processions and hand out party literature door to door. In densely populated parts of the country, it also intended to use a public address system to share its vision for the Kingdom.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), said on May 19 that launch celebrations will be held in each constituency that the party currently holds. The CPP will not assemble its supporters and parade a great distance on the first day, however.

“We will hold one rally in each constituency. We cannot travel from one to another. If we want our procession to travel between them, we would need special permission from the NEC. We will not carry out any activities that are not in line with NEC guidelines,” he said.

The Candlelight Party issued a May 18 notification, saying that on May 21 the party would gather its supporters and hold a large procession on the first day. The parade would be joined by leaders from all across Phnom Penh.

“At 7am, the party will gather and depart from Try Heng III in Krang Thnong commune’s Kraing Angkrang village of Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. At 2pm they would assemble and leave from Angkor Blvd near Camko City Roundabout,” the notification said.

NEC spokesperson Hang Puthea said election campaigning will take place from May 21 to June 3. Parties may campaign from 6am until 10pm. They may hand out flyers between 12am and 2pm, but may not use public address systems.

He added that they were not allowed to use loudspeakers near hospitals or schools, and must plan their campaign activities carefully. All parties are required to give the election commission a minimum of three days’ notice before holding large mobile rallies, so that routes can be planned and approved. The processions of two political parties should not meet, he explained.

“During this campaign period, each of the parties has the right to hold only two large parades. Campaigners must refrain from using threatening or intimidating language or violence to extract promises of support or thumbprint agreements from the public. The NEC will convene a meeting with the leadership of each party on May 20 – the day before campaigning may begin –to reiterate their rights and responsibilities while on the campaign trail,” he said.

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