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Few Violations After Two Weeks: NEC

The National Election Committee has received 138 complaints from political parties in the first two weeks of campaigning, the government agency announced Thursday.

These include 79 complaints at the commune level, 36 at the provincial level and 23 at the national level.

Complaints ranged from interpretations of regulations, the prevention of party sign posting, unannounced marches or rallies and verbal arguments between opposing party activists with each other and with onlookers, NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha said.

Only those complaints that cannot be compromised at the local and provincial levels reach the NEC, he said.

These NEC violations included obstruction of rallies, the hanging of party signs, or verbal altercations, Tep Nitha said.

"None of the complaints is a big problem, nor do they have a large effect on the election process, because some complaints are compromised at the [commune] level," he said. "However, the complaints are basically of legal wrongdoing, but we can control and compromise."

Hang Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said his organization had received 28 complaints nationwide, including several for death threats, political discrimination and obstruction of party campaigns.

"I believe that irregularities can affect the election result, if NEC does not take action or punish the wrongdoers," he said. "These irregularities can affect voters' decisions."

Mar Sophal, chief investigator for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said his organization was examining 25 cases, mostly related to the destruction of party campaign material and procedural violations to NEC regulations.

Party activists have also complained of threats and intimidation, he said.

"These irregularities will not effect the election," he said. "These are not serious problems. All the complaints are being solved through legal procedures."

While the campaign season has been quiet so far, election observers have said at least three deaths have resulted from potential political motivation. They have also said some serious threats or attacks are moved from election committees to the police.