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Former CNRP officials to be probed on boycott call

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Polling officials empty ballot boxes at the end of voting for the Senate elections in February. Sreng Meng Srun

Former CNRP officials to be probed on boycott call

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said the authorities are investigating former officials of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for calling on voters to boycott the July 29 election.

Speaking to reporters after the first-quarter progress meeting of the National Police, he said his officers will take legal action once investigations are completed.

In May, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the ministry would act against those calling for a boycott after the president of the National Election Committee (NEC) requested action against anyone advocating such action.

“The technical group, which includes security and judicial [departments], is processing the work and investigating the case. They are also working to educate people to be aware of the tricks of others intended to disrupt the election process. Regarding the nature of the crimes, we are still working on it as the law requires us to collect and compile evidence clearly,” Chantharith said.

He also said that the interior and defence ministries, and the National Election Committee have issued guidelines and instructions to security forces on how to thwart movements that incited voters to boycott the election.

“The forces and equipment are prepared, and the training about law, order, procedures and code of ethics of the elections have been delivered in almost every province.

“They will work hard to stop the tricks that prevent or interrupt with the elections. We have involved many institutions such as the police, Military Police and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” Chantharith said.

In early June, the Ministry of Justice and Prime Minister Hun Sen said those who ink their fingers despite having not voted would be punished, after some people on social media advocated doing so to avoid accusations of being anti-government.

Article 142 of the 1998 Law on Election to the National Assembly prescribes a fine of five to 20 million riel ($1,250-$5,000) for preventing people from voting.

This excludes punishment for those who use dishonest means to win an election, stop others from exercising their right to vote, or stopping people from having their names in the voter registry.

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