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Vote Buying, Gift Giving Improper for Campaign: Experts


Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections.

Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections.

The campaign period for commune elections has seen a mix of allegations of vote buying and gift giving, among other irregularities, politic analysts and election monitors say.

Ten parties are competing for commune council positions across the country for June 3 polls. Campaigning end June 1.

“If the politicians try to buy people, that causes people to lose original will,” Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, told “Hello VOA” Thursday. “So if people lose the original will, then society will lose as well.”

While it is normal to want to sway voters, he said, it is better to explain your political platform than to buy their support. That, he said, “will be a good process of democratization.”

Political analyst Lao Monghay said the campaigning has taken place without much tension, but pressing issues like crackdowns on protests and continued land grabbing remain serious issues. Vote buying has become more popular, he said.

Hang Puthea said campaigning this year has been better than elections prior, because party and election officials have more experience. “Even though there are some problems in the provinces,” he said.

The commune elections are a chance for the government to decentralize power, if local leaders are given more authority to make decisions, Hang Puthea said. Currently, commune chiefs take orders from the party, rather than their constituents, he said. “That’s a detriment to the people.”

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