A spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) warned that legal action would be taken against any opposition figures who continue to use the campaign slogans “change, change” and “Hun Sen step down”.
Spokesman Sok Eysan told local media yesterday that these phrases would not be permitted during the upcoming campaign period, which begins on Saturday, because they affect the reputation and dignity of CPP leaders.
Eysan said the CPP would file a complaint with the National Election Committee (NEC), but may also file a complaint with the judiciary if the NEC does not act. “This will receive a fine and a prison conviction,” he told The Post.
Earlier this week, Defence Minister Tea Banh said protesters using this rhetoric would get their teeth kicked out, and Eysan himself said they could be killed.
Following a series of provocative statements by ruling party officials, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that he will no longer comment on statements from the CPP.
Hang Puthea, spokesman for the NEC, said his organisation has not yet considered whether these specific phrases violate the established Election Law.
“Each party has the right to create phrases to use and ask the NEC to examine the meaning of its propaganda,” Puthea said.
Political analyst Meas Ny said that the CPP’s attempt to ban the mottos was indicative of the ruling party’s “anxiety”.
Ny compared it to the government’s successful banning of CNRP slogan “Replace commune chiefs who serve the party with commune chiefs who serve the people”.
“Hun Sen himself is in a state of stress because he thinks fewer people will support CPP,” Ny said.
Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson