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Campaign period went smoothly, says NEC

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Funcinpec supporters ride motorbikes and wave flags during their party’s parade in the capital on July 7. Heng Chivoan

Campaign period went smoothly, says NEC

Election campaigning officially closes after Friday, with officials from the National Election Committee (NEC) and party leaders saying the 20-day period went smoothly, citing boycott calls as the only disruption.

More than 270,000 activists are expected to gather in the capital for closing rallies.

Officials from the NEC noted on Thursday that they received only 30 complaints during the election period, as opposed to over 100 during the national elections in 2013.

Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan claimed that the election campaign period didn’t hit any major obstacles.

“I believe the election campaign is going smoothly, without many obstacles. All political parties have exercised their rights according to the laws and procedures determined by the NEC,” he said.

“Despite annoyances from the opposition, inside and outside the country, they couldn’t cause any obstructions and the process went smoothly,” Eysan said.

The only irregularities he noted were cases of CPP supporters using police or military vehicles while campaigning, an issue he said was resolved.

Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) secretary-general and spokesman Sam Inn said his party had already alerted the NEC about the irregularities they had noticed during the 20-day campaign period.

“Overall, the campaign process went well, while there were some challenges such as the lack of initial cooperation from traffic police when we organised a rally on July 10."

“There were also some threats to our activists who were distributing pamphlets in Battambang province, and the destruction of GDP banners in Kampot, Battambang, and Siem Reap provinces."

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Members of the League for Democracy Party rally in the capital on July 7. Heng Chivoan

“We already informed the NEC officials,” he said, adding that his party would continue its vigilance throughout election day."

Pich Sros, president of the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP), said his party did not have any complaints and praised local authorities for facilitating their campaign.

“In the last 20 days of the election campaign, the CYP did not encounter any obstructions, and we don’t have complaints because we solved our problems by speaking with each other. We have mutual understandings,” he said.

“After we complained about the lack of protection, they offered stronger facilitation at both the local level and national level,” Sros said.

Election expert Yoeurng Sotheara said the decrease in complaints compared to 2013 is because the campaign is nearly 10 days shorter this time around, and that there were two major parties competing previously

“The 2013 election campaigns were competitive. The two major parties were the critical competitors . . . the previous election law allowed a 30-day period for campaigns without any limitation on the number of rallies, while the new law reduces it to only 21 days with a limit of four rally windows.

“One more thing . . . the new election law also prohibits political parties and supporters from criticising each other, even with constructive criticism,” Sotheara said.

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