Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Election body asks Interior to pursue Rainsy, CNRP for boycott calls

Election body asks Interior to pursue Rainsy, CNRP for boycott calls

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Secretary-general of the National Election Committee Tep Nytha holds a press conference on Thursday. Pha Lina

Election body asks Interior to pursue Rainsy, CNRP for boycott calls

Speaking during a meeting with stakeholders, officials from the National Election Committee (NEC) said it had requested the Ministry of Interior to take legal action against the dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party and its former leader, Sam Rainsy, for calling on people to forgo voting in the July 29 national elections, labelling such calls a violation of the Constitution and the Election Law.

The meeting on Thursday, which was joined by the Constitutional Council, political parties, civil society organisations and representatives from the Japanese Embassy, included an announcement that Heang Kimseoun, deputy director of the Beehive Social Democratic Party, had asked the NEC to take action against the dissolved CNRP, whose former members have been calling for a boycott of the polls.

Kimseoun said he saw the CNRP’s message as propaganda aimed to “break the nation apart”.

A representative of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party who declined to give his name added that although small political parties were subjected to insults by Rainsy, who referred to them as “firefly parties” or “puppet parties”, there had been a huge increase in the number of them registering with the NEC.

Meanwhile, Mean Sati, an NEC member who led the meeting said the committee had asked the Ministry of Interior to prepare for potential legal action.

“We have informed the Ministry of Interior and requested them to take action,” he said.

NEC spokesman Dem Sovannarom told Fresh News that calling on people not to vote “affects public order and national security”.

He was referencing a petition, posted online earlier this month by Rainsy, calling on voters to boycott what he refers to as “sham” elections.

Not all parties condemned the actions of the now-disbanded CNRP. Hing Yoeun, deputy head of the Khmer Will Party, which was founded by the son of Kong Korm, a former senior official at the CNRP, said the message was within “personal rights”, but that he still urged the people to vote.

Yoeun encouraged former CNRP supporters to turn up and vote for his party.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak said he had not seen the request from the NEC, which claims to be a neutral entity, but the ministry was ready to cooperate.

“All legal decisions made by the NEC are supported by the Ministry of Interior,” he said. “We have the Election Law, which states that it is an offence to prevent people from casting their vote.”

Rainsy, responding to the comments via email from San Francisco, said: “I would like to remind Hun Sen’s government officials . . . that voting is the right of any citizen, but not voting is also their right, especially when they know there is no real choice . . . with the only objective being to legitimise a dictatorship”.

“In such circumstances, an election boycott is an act of passive resistance in a peaceful fight for democracy.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine