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Parties’ funding plans differ

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People search for their names on recently updated voter lists in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac commune in January. Pha Lina

Parties’ funding plans differ

The two main political parties contesting the upcoming commune elections revealed disparate campaign budget plans yesterday, with the opposition pledging to spend over $1 million and a spokesman for the ruling CPP saying his party will not be creating a central campaigning budget at all.

Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said candidates will mostly be expected to fund their own campaigns.

“The party does not have a division of the budget to fund commune campaigns throughout the country. In the event that any commune does not have enough, they can make a request to the party,” he said.

“We have a lot of working groups. In each commune there are 10 to 20 people, so it is not difficult to find money and enforce the culture of sharing,” Eysan said, adding that large funds are unnecessary because of the short campaign period.

The official campaign period for the June 4 elections will last only from May 20 to June 2.

Eng Chhay Eang, deputy president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said that they will have a central budget of just north of $1 million, raised from foreign and domestic donors.

Chhay Eang also claimed that CPP’s informal approach to funding wasn’t transparent, and could potentially allow them to use government cash.

“It is not transparent in our country. So there is still injustice relating to the unequal use of resources,” Chhay Eang said.

National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea similarly warned against the possibility of using government funds.

“If they use personal money to help the party it is their right. But if they dare to take funds from the state budget, it is wrong,” Puthea said, adding that there would be legal ramifications.

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