Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence Minister Tea Banh tells military to vote for ruling party

Defence Minister Tea Banh tells military to vote for ruling party

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Defence Minister Tea Banh spoke in the event yesterday. Ministry of Defence

Defence Minister Tea Banh tells military to vote for ruling party

With a month to go until the July 29 national elections, Defence Minister Tea Banh on Thursday called on members of the armed forces and police to vote for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) at the upcoming polls.

“I would like to remind soldiers and their families to vote for the CPP. It will be easy to [vote] in order to maintain peace and guarantee development. The CPP is at number 20 and there are 20 political parties competing, so it will be easy to remember as the CPP sits at the bottom [of the ballot],” he said while addressing soldiers and police officers at an event in Battambang marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the military’s Region 5 area.

“Together we need to look at the importance of peace and . . . how to protect it, or else it will be in danger and cause people to die as in times past . . . At any cost, peace must be maintained and no person or group must be allowed to destroy peace. We must oppose any action from outside that tries to force the government to follow its will under the guise of democracy and human rights, and interfere with Cambodia’s sovereignty and violate universal principles.”

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Nicfec), said the National Election Committee (NEC) should take action against the minister for promoting a particular party, which goes against the political neutrality of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

“The Election Law requires the armed forces and their officials to be neutral . . . Using a state event to talk about a party in the elections is not right,” he said.

Members of the armed forces and police cannot promote political parties while in uniform, he added.

However, Hang Puthea, an NEC spokesman, said the body did not have the power to act as Banh’s statements came before the start of official election campaigning.

“The NEC’s authority starts from July 7 during the election campaigning period,” he said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said: “[Tea Banh] is not in the wrong, because after a political party has been registered at the Ministry of Interior and the ministry has recognised it, he is allowed to conduct political activities and persuade people to vote for his party.

“Even if people are members of the military or police officers, public servants or court officials, they have not lost their political rights. They can conduct political activities for their party.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday expressed frustration over claims by Sam Rainsy that he had altered Rainsy’s ticket with Thai Airways to prevent him boarding his November 7 flight to Thailand, from where he had claimed he would enter Cambodia. Hun Sen made the

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • PM urges ‘democracies’ to learn from horrors Cambodia faced

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday chided countries that he said declared themselves a democracy while supporting a military coup that eventually gave birth to the Khmer Rouge regime. Speaking during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit at the Peace Palace, Hun Sen said without naming those

  • Princess Buppha Devi passes away aged 77

    Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, who was famous for her skills and key roles behind the Kingdom’s Royal Ballet, passed away on Monday from unspecified illness at a hospital in the Thai capital Bangkok, according to the official Facebook page of King Norodom Sihamoni. “May

  • PM: Request for release of plotters not due to pressure

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said his request to have the supporters of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and his “coup plot” released on bail was not made under international pressure. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 34 roads in Preah Sihanouk

  • Ministry deplores RFA report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday deplored as fake news a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report that it had received a copy of the European Commission’s assessment on the human rights situation in Cambodia as part of the Everything But