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Election Body Issues Text Messages Warning of Election Law Prosecutions


FILE: The head of the NEC, Sik Bun Hok in an open discussion on voter registration in Phnom Penh on August 5, 2016. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said the messages were intended to remind political parties that they must comply with the law, adding that some political parties had already received fines for violations.

The national election body has warned Cambodians in a series of text messages that they could face prosecution if they are found to have violated the election law, which extends to calls to boycott the vote.

The messages, sent on behalf of the National Election Committee (NEC) chairman, Sik Bun Hok, said the NEC would “take legal action against any political party that does not comply with the law.”

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, said the messages were intended to remind political parties that they must comply with the law, adding that some political parties had already received fines for violations.

“We have a common principle and it is a reminder, because we see that some political parties have not accepted the NEC’s decisions,” he said, adding that written warnings would be issued, followed by a fine and possible exclusion from the election.

In early July, the League of Democracy Party (LDP), led by Khem Veasna, requested that the NEC amend the voting rules that allows voters to use a number of different marks on the ballot over concerns that it could lead to voter fraud or be used to identify voters. The request was rejected.

Chin Thong, LDP spokesman, declined to comment.

Korn Savang, an election monitor with local group Comfrel, said he supported legal action against political parties that violated the election law, so long as the rule was applied to all parties.

In recent weeks, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen has been accused of breaking election rules on numerous occasions, including having members of the military campaign for the party during officials events.

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