Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on April 29 told authorities and forces to focus on security and public order for all parties involved in the upcoming commune council elections, according to National Police.

Sar Kheng, who is also head of the Permanent Security Command for Elections, was speaking at a meeting to disseminate 2022-2024 plans concerning security for annual voter list management processes and elections during the period, National Police said in a statement.

The meeting was attended by National Election Committee (NEC) chairman Prach Chan, National Police and other officials, the statement said.

The minister underlined the importance of elections – both at the national and sub-national levels – painting them as “historical events” and a source of pride.

“They prove the willingness and commitment of the National Assembly, Senate, the Royal Government, and political dignitaries to strengthening multi-party democracy, respecting human rights, strengthening the rule of law and development in the country, for peace, prosperity and dignity, as well as promoting national prestige on the international stage,” Sar Kheng said in the statement.

He also stressed that the upcoming commune council elections – scheduled for June 5 – would be a “fierce competition” among participating political parties, which he cautioned may be susceptible to conflict or crimes that could interrupt the electoral process. This, he said, requires authorities and forces to ensure security and order, within the boundaries of their official jurisdictions.

“Any issues arising within the community must be resolved from the get-go. Don’t wait until they reach severe levels and potentially lead to social chaos, as some could use them as tools for political gain,” Sar Kheng warned.

The minister also told the authorities and forces to be neutral and to respect the law and public order as well as ethics relevant to the electoral process, underscoring that they must provide security and make things easier for all political parties, candidates, political representatives, local and international election observers and all citizens – transparently and without discrimination.

He also called on all parties involved in the elections – including NGOs and other associations, election observers and the general public – to do their part and ensure that the elections are carried out freely, fairly, transparently and peacefully, without violence or threats.