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Jaded Voters Hear More Promises, as NEC Hails Campaign as Smooth

[Editor's note: For full audio to VOA Khmer's coverage of this story, scroll throughout.]

Candidates and other political leaders are quick to notice the problems of everyday Cambodians when an election is near, but potential voters told VOA Thursday they were distrustful of true benevolence from those who are now courting them.

"I don't believe it," Phnom Penh resident Bun Choeun told VOA. "Because everything seems to happen coincidentally just before the election."

More than 100,000 commune council candidates have been campaigning for six days, handing out leaflets, visiting constituents, debating—and making promises many Cambodians have become skeptical of.

Politicians "pay attention to us as the election approaches, like developing here and there," Bun Choeun said. "It seems like it is done to deceive us. They honor their promises when the election approaches. Afterwards, they will forget us."

To listen to Kong Soth report in Khmer, .

While candidates from 11 other parties were busy trying to get their messages across in the campaign period, adviser Om Yentieng told VOA the ruling Cambodian People's Party had more than a platform; they had a long-term plan to develop the country.

The CPP's goal was to stay near the people, he said.

The military sector was "progressing," he said.

The party supported democracy and a multi-party state, Om Yentieng said, calling corruption an obstacle to progress.

To hear Mean Veasna report in Khmer, .

The elections so far have seen fewer incidents of violence and intimidation, the National Election Committee said Thursday.

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha told reporters the campaign period was smooth and peaceful, but two main opposition leaders disagreed.

Every day of campaigning has seen some irregularities, Muth Chanta, spokesman for the Norodom Ranariddh Party, and opposition leader Sam Rainsy both said.

To listen to Thida Win report in Khmer, .

Their concerns were underscored by the possible political killing of a woman in Battambang province.

Eyewitnesses and opposition party activists told VOA that Chhum San, 56, was shot and killed Wednesday night after her husband participated in a Sam Rainsy Party political rally. Though some opposition officials said this was enough to constitute an act of political intimidation, Ad Hoc coordinator Yin Meng Ly said the murder might also have been a result of a grudge.

To listen to Heng Reaksmey report in Khmer, .