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Monitor Worries Over Parties in Court

The 18-month prison sentence facing Prince Norodom Ranariddh and a recent lawsuit filed against opposition leader Sam Rainsy spell worry that the courts are being politicized ahead of elections, a monitor said Thursday.

“The courts shouldn’t be used to cause problems when there is an election,” said Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.

Prince Ranariddh, who is running an eponymous political party from exile, faces his jail term, on charges related to embezzlement, if he returns to the country.

Foreign Minister Hor Nahmhong, meanwhile, has filed a suit against Sam Rainsy, for remarks allegedly implicating the minister as complicit under the Khmer Rouge.

Koul Panha said as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday Cambodians should be seeking a positive environment for the polls.

The run-up to this year’s election has been better than in the past, he said, and voters do not fear as much about their safety and security, especially compared to 1992 and 1998.

While some voters may want to see the election date changed—either because it’s the rainy season or because of high prices for fuel—the election law is not easy to amend, Koul Panha said.