As the ruling, opposition, and coalition parties spread out across the country yesterday, loudly hailing the first day of campaigns, five voices were noticeably absent: those of the other contesting parties.
The small parties are fielding just a fraction of the candidates and sport a micro-fraction of their campaign budgets. Which meant, for some, that the difficulty of making their platform heard on the noisiest campaign day of the year simply wasn’t worth the effort.
Daran Kravanh, president of the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party, said his party planned to start campaigning on July 4.
“I didn’t prepare anything for today,” Kravanh said yesterday.
The Khmer Economic Development Party and the Republican Democratic Party also told the Post they had no plans to hold campaign events on opening day, and the latter party claimed the government had in fact not allowed them to start campaigning.
“The government said only the large parties could start today, so [there’s] not too much confusion,” Rin Ken, a campaigner with the RDP, said. The RDP therefore did not know when it would start campaigning, she said.
“We are just waiting for the government to approve the campaign to start.”
Sin Vannarith, KAPP’s secretary general, said the party had not yet obtained approval for its campaign because it had not decided on what sort of events it would hold.
The Khmer Economic Development Party won’t begin campaigning until July 5, said its vice-president, Lim Samnang.
Regarding the RDP’s claims that they had been asked not to campaign yesterday, Tep Nytha, secretary general of the National Election Committee, said that “all political parties have the right to campaign, but those individual political parties may have failed to inform local authorities . . . in advance.”
“The problem may have been an overlap in the location and timetable of the campaign,” Nytha added.
The two remaining small parties, Cambodian Nationality Party and the League for Democracy Party, could not be reached yesterday.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VONG SOKHENG