The Phnom Penh Post
Only four days into the commune election campaigning period and complaints of campaign interference are already flowing, NEC legal department director Keo Phalla said yesterday.
Keo Phalla said that as of Sunday, the commune elections commission had received seven complaints, with two of those in Banteay Meanchey and one each in Kratie, Pursat, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu.
Opposition Sam Rainsy Party officials in Kampong Thom yesterday said they were also filing a complaint in Prasat Balang district’s Doung commune today.
Sun Chanthy, Kampong Thom SRP secretary, said the party was filing a complaint against the Commune Election Committee president Pa Bunthorng, who they allege has been gate-crashing their campaign meetings and challenging members to fistfights.
“The Sam Rainsy Party was planning their propaganda and message of its commune election campaign in its office, then Pa Bunthorn, president of the Doung Commune Election Commission, came in to provoke us, saying he wants to fight Sam Rainsy Party members and would them pay 1 million riel for each fight,” Sun Chanthy said.
He added that he believed the SRP was being persecuted by the CEC president because of the party’s popularity in that commune.
“This is political intimidation. We have filed a complaint to PEC asking to convict him according to the election law,” Sun Chanthy said.
Pa Bunthorng dismissed the allegations and denied that he was a member of any political party or had any political agenda.
Instead, he said his drop-in on the campaign meeting was a practical joke with his childhood friend, SRP member Horn Hort.
“This is an individual issue; it is not related to any political issues,” Pan Bunthorng said. “Now, we have already compromised by saying an apology to each other and shaking hands.”