Although it is illegal for political parties to hang political campaign signs across public roads, it is permissible for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to do so because it built the roads, an official said yesterday.
An opposition Sam Rainsy Party complaint about the CPP’s breach of the election law, which prohibits parties from hanging political propaganda above public roads, was rejected without explanation by Phnom Penh municipality’s Tuol Sangke Commune Election Commission on Monday.
“Deny the lawsuit. Those signal boards were displayed permanently a long time ago,” Tuol Sangke’s CEC official, who could not be reached yesterday, wrote on the SRP lawsuit as the response.
National Election Committee secretary-general Tep Nythe defended the rejection, saying election laws did not apply to propaganda constructed before the campaign period.
“It means that if something was just made newly for election propaganda and it crosses the streets, we forbid, but what [CPP] has done in a previous time [we] cannot forbid,” Tep Nytha said.
In the complaint, the SRP pointed out there were 14 banners over public roads in the Tuol Sangke commune. SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the rejection just added to the list of legitimate complaints the NEC had failed to resolve.
Puthea Hang, executive director of election monitoring organisation NICFEC, said the NEC was shying away from responsibility.
“Putting the signs up a long time ago, means it was also illegal a long time ago,” Puthea Hang said.
But Tuol Sangke commune chief Soy Kosal said the CPP was free to hang its signs above the streets since the party constructed them.
“If other parties want to hang signs, they should share in the road construction,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]