PHNOM PENH —
Cambodia’s largest opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, has criticized a decision to ban campaign promotions from main roads and public areas ahead of local elections in June.
The CNRP claims the ban violates Cambodian law and citizen’s access to information rights.
The ban was announced on April 28 by Phnom Penh City Hall and will run for the length of the campaign period, from May 20 to June 2, two days before the vote is due to be held.
Political rallies will also be banned, the announcement said, for security reasons and to avoid disrupting traffic.
Meas Chorporn, a National Election Committee representative, said the body would meet to discuss a response to the ban.
Mu Sochua, a senior CNRP lawmaker, said the ability to hold gatherings as part of any party’s political campaigning was essential.
“The prohibition contradicts the law,” she said. “Therefore I hope that the governor of Phnom Penh will reconsider the decision.”
Yoeung Sotheara, a legal observer with election monitoring group Comfrel, said the authorities should balance the interests of security and the democratic process.
He said parties should be allowed to campaign publicly. “If the government resists, it is considered an abuse of power and is beyond the regulation of procedure of the [National Election Committee.”
Twelve parties are set to contest more than 16,000 local government jobs in the commune election on June 4.