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Parties Reminded To Avoid Threats, Violence as Election Approaches

A Cambodian military police officer, left, traffics during the election campaign in Phnom Penh, file photo.
A Cambodian military police officer, left, traffics during the election campaign in Phnom Penh, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - The National Election Committee on Friday reminded the eight political parties competing in July’s election to respect the rules of fair campaigning.

Parties must “avoid acts of threats, intimidation or violence against citizens, supporters or candidates,” NEC official Som Chandina told reporters.

Som Chandina also said parties should exercise “tolerance” for each other and that government personnel and equipment are not to be used for campaigning purposes.

However, election monitors say that some irregularities still take place.

Hang Puthea, executive director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, told VOA Khmer that some parties face discrimination, while the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has received help in the past from government authorities and state vehicles.

Inequalities exist in terms of the mass media, which is broadly controlled by supporters of the ruling party, he said.

Meanwhile, international donors said this week they were still looking for improvements in election proceedings.

Alain Vandersmissen, minister counsellor for the European Union in Cambodia, told VOA Khmer the EU has made recommendations based on the 2008 elections that include the improvement of the voter registry, a ban on the use of state resources for the electoral campaign and equal access to media by all parties.

“We are still expecting that they implement some of the recommendations of the EU electoral observation mission of 2008,” he said.

Dave Gordge, deputy head of mission for the Australian Embassy, said the Australian government has “encouraged implementation of electoral reform and expressed Australia’s hope that the forthcoming elections will be free and fair.”

NEC Secretary-General Tep Nitha told VOA Khmer that Cambodia “cannot be forced to respect their recommendations.”

“Each country has a different situation,” he said.