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The NEC Advises Political Parties Not to Bribe Voters' Hearts During the Election Campaign

PHNOM PENH: The National Election Committee (NEC) has issued a directive to all political parties not to engage in voter bribery activities by providing finances, facilities or through other means, during the current election campaign, in order to ensure the accuracy of the campaign.

In the instruction released by the NEC, dated 25 May 2022, it is stated that in the first few days of the election campaign, the NEC have noticed some of the wrong activities conducted by political parties that may be considered violations under the provisions of the election campaign. In this line, the NEC has advised all political parties to obey the principles of the election campaign and to avoid bribing voters.

Some political parties have expressed their support for this instruction, which works to ensure more fair competition.

Cambodian People's Party (CPP) Spokesperson, Sok Eysan, supported the NEC's issuance of instructions to ensure a fair and transparent election campaign.

He said, "The ban is to ensure equity between parties during the campaign. No matter which party has money, it is forbidden to bribe its members. For the CPP, no matter how much we have in terms of resources and facilities, we won’t bribe our members [during the campaign].”

FUNCINPEC Spokesperson, Nhoeun Raden, said that the NEC's instructions to all political parties were correct and that FUNCINPEC has always complied with the rules, especially the applicable election laws which are equal.

"Giving money is an incentive to buy voters’ heart, because the law stipulates that during this campaign period, we cannot give money to bribe voters," said Nhoeun Raden. "I urge all parties participating in the election to obey the law so that the election can run smoothly, freely and fairly.”

The NEC's issuance comes after the head of the Kang Meas district support group and Chairman of the Candlelight Party in Sdao commune, Kang Meas district, Kampong Cham province, posted a video of giving US $100 dollars per person to local commune chief candidates from 11 communes, making it so that these 11 candidates face charges to be removed from the official candidate list filed by CPP representative Chin Davy.

EAC News contacted the Candlelight Party’s Spokesperson, Thach Setha, to clarify this case, but has not received any response.

COMFREL Coordinating Survey and Advocacy Coordinator, Korn Savang, has said that all political parties need to be aware of the rules and procedures of the election campaign in order to avoid mistakes during the campaign.

"All political parties must understand the rules and procedures in the process of their campaign, because the law in Articles 71 and 72, it is mentioned, especially Article 171, also have a ban on bribing voters, by using materials and money. They are not encouraged to do this," said Korn Savang.

He also stated that during the past few days of election campaigning, there have been no cases of serious irregularities.

Paragraph 5 of Article 71 of the Law on Commune/District Council Elections states that all political parties, candidates or representatives must not give gifts, money or materials as a reward or bribe, in any way or in any image to any institution, organization or individual in order to win the hearts of voters.

In addition to bribing voter hearts, the NEC also prohibits the publication or dissemination of images, videos, audio recordings or political messages that are publicly insulting or which incite discrimination, anger, or loss of confidence in the election. Parties are instructed to not put up signs or banners across the road or use materials that are against the law, or which are prohibited by the NEC, and parties must seek approval from the Commune/District Election Commission at least three days before the campaign day if they wish to do so.

According to the Law on Commune/District Council Elections and the Rules and Procedures for the 5th Mandate Commune / District Council Election 2022, political parties are allowed to publish their policies and political programs for Commune/District development to voters during the election campaign at least for 14 days, however all campaign activities must stop 24 hours before election day.

The Commune/District Council Election Campaign for the 5th Mandate 2022 began on 21 May and will run until 3 June 2022. The election will take place on Sunday, 5 June.

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