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Violence Down This Year: Kampot Voters

In one area of Kampot province, voters say they don’t care about attacking each other, but look instead for the elections to improve their standard of living.

Political rhetoric and violence have gone done compared to elections past, they say, but the poor are still poor.

“Maybe people understand well about political discrimination, so rhetoric is not important anymore for them and is not useful,” said Ka Mul, 38, of Traparng Kanhchaet village.

He’d been given a sarong, he said, but planned to vote freely.

In the past, villagers here say violence accompanied elections, including killing, but many reported much more peace ahead of this election.

But here, as in other provinces, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has organized a network to set meetings and mobilize voters.

Rights groups and monitors say there has been no major reported irregularities here, but there have been killings and other intimidation in other parts of the province.

Sao Nun, 65, a construction worker and farmer, said there was no violence because people now understand politics.

“Only people who don’t understand, they fight, but if they understand, they don’t fight,” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of eligible voters in the commune, about 1,500, is double that of past elections.

Try Chhuon, an election monitor for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections and a rights worker for Adhoc, said many issues, such as victimization and land grabs, are facing voters in the province, which could lead to an absence of voters on election day.